This year the family lawyers organisation Resolution are trying to raise awareness of the issue of cohabitation and the absence of any laws to protect those who are cohabiting but not married or in a civil partnership.
The simple and unpleasant fact is that there is no law in place that protects someone who is “just” cohabiting (as opposed to being married or in a civil partnership), no matter how long you have lived together. There is quite literally no such thing as being a “common law” husband or wife. If you have children, then there are some rights relating to the children but nothing to protect an adult, particularly if your name is not on the house or tenancy.
There are a number of steps that can be taken to address the problem and I would urge anyone who is or is thinking of cohabiting to take some advice as early as possible, even if you never act on it. It seems very unlikely that any laws will be coming from the government to offer protection, so the best you can do is take steps to protect yourself.
You can find more details of the Resolution campaign, Cohabitation Awareness Week, here.
Head of Family Department