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Alpha BiolabsPrettyprotected.co.ukFamily Law Week Email Subscription1 Garden Court

Myth of common law marriage still strong

Just over half the population still think that common law marriage exists in law, according to this year's British Social Attitudes survey published last week. 51% of those surveyed believe that cohabiting couples are protected by 'common law marriage'.

Another interesting finding is that the importance attached to marriage for parents is on the decline with only 28% of people thinking that married couples make better parents than unmarried ones.

Part of the survey concentrated specifically on attitudes to cohabitation and found that:

89% think that a cohabiting partner should have a right to financial provision on separation if the relationship has been a long-term one, includes children and has involved prioritising one partner's career over another;

38% think that a cohabiting partner should have a right to financial provision if the relationship only lasted two years and involves no children.

One of the Survey's authors, Professor Anne Barlow, says that it showed that

"there is little appetite for maintaining the deep legal divisions drawn between married and
unmarried cohabiting families. The Law Commission should bear this in mind in their review of current legislation.'