The Supreme Court decision in the appeal by Denise Brewster is a victory for cohabiting women being able to claim their deceased partner’s pension in Northern Ireland, as they are able to do in England.
However, the rights of a cohabiting person in England are precarious. Their ability to make claims to maintenance and property is very limited if the property is in the other person’s name, even if the claiming party has spent many years looking after the children and doing everything that a spouse would do. Sandra Meakins, family law partner in our Farnham office says “The absence of that all important piece of paper – the Marriage certificate , could make a world of difference to what that person might receive if a long standing relationship breaks down. There is no such thing as a ‘common law’ husband or wife”.
If you are unclear about your position and you are in a cohabiting relationship you might find it helpful to take some advice as to your rights and what could be done if you find yourself in this situation.
Call Sandra Meakins at our Farnham office on 01252 713242 to discuss matters confidentially. Sandra has been qualified as a solicitor for more than 30 years and has a wealth of experience in dealing with couples who are separating, whether they are married or not. Or if one of our other offices is more convenient, we also have family lawyers there who can help.