Mariko Wilson discusses some commonly held false beliefs regarding the legal rights of cohabiting couples, and the advice practitioners should give clients to protect themselves

There are many areas of law where the public's understanding has
been distorted by rumour or
by media reporting designed
to sensationalise. One of the most commonly misunderstood areas of family law is cohabitation. What follows
is an attempt to separate
the fiction from the facts.

Myth: a couple living together will become common law husband and wife after a certain period of time.

In fact, cohabitees will remain cohabitees unless they marry. The court cannot apply divorce laws to cohabiting couples, regardless of how long they
have lived together, or how unfair the outcome might be.

Myth: at the end of a long relationship which...

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