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The legal protection of marriage without actually marrying?

(16 Posts)
CashConfusion Tue 02-Oct-12 09:54:36

Does anyone know if it is possible to create a legal arrangement that offers the same level of protection as marriage to both parties and children in the event of a split?

DP and I don't want to get married but would like to make sure we would all be treated fairly in the event of separation.

Actually, now I think about it, I don't really know what protection marriage offers to benchmark against so if you know that too, please could you let me know?!

Collaborate Tue 02-Oct-12 10:33:42

You can't get the same level of protection. All you can do is both agree a cohabitation contract that deals with property ownership and rights after separation. It won't be flexible though.

suburbandweller Tue 02-Oct-12 10:38:14

You could also both enter into wills to deal with your respective assets if one of you passes away, if it's your intention that your property will go to the other person. You would obviously have to change them again if you split up.

slappywappydoodah Tue 02-Oct-12 12:56:18

A separation agreement can be drawn up, though these are not binding in the UK - they are merely persuasive in a court, as it will be considered to be "evidence of the parties' intentions".

Unless you marry, you will not have binding protections.

In terms of death, I would very much suggest a will, though of course these can be changed following a split.

babybarrister Tue 02-Oct-12 14:09:10

cannot be done - get married if you are the one with fewer assets and lower income grin

nocake Tue 02-Oct-12 18:34:05

If you want the same level of security and protection... get married!

ChristinaF Tue 02-Oct-12 18:51:03

I am a family lawyer and I would say - get married. Cohabitants do not have the same level of protection.

jiminyCrick Wed 03-Oct-12 00:07:10

May I ask what your reasons for not wanting to marry are [briefly? I don't want to pry]

Marriage offers protection to parties and security, but also requires the commitment of both, it's like a having your cake and eating it situation...if you are not prepared for both sides of marriage it is not very possible to obtain one.

I don't know about the OP, but I'd like the legal side of marriage, but I don't like the symbolism. The idea of being somebody's wife makes me shudder.

Not to mention the wedding itself - although I know that part's optional, I feel that our families would be upset if we got married without any kind of ceremony.

Am I right in thinking the father has more rights regarding the children if you are married?

prh47bridge Thu 04-Oct-12 22:15:09

Not really.

If you are married he automatically has parental responsibility. If you are not married he will have PR if he is named on the birth certificate or if you enter into a PR agreement with him. He can also get PR by applying for a court order which he would almost certainly get.

Athendof Fri 05-Oct-12 06:03:58

Having been through the hell of a divorce, i think that is totally bonkers to have children with someone out of marriage, unless you are the one with the higher salary and majority of the assets,

Reallyyouwould Fri 05-Oct-12 06:22:18

So the advice is, if you're the higher-earner and have more assets, don't get married?

Athendof Fri 05-Oct-12 06:33:01

No, the advice is get protected by a marriage certificate if you want protection, particularly if you need it.

And it's not only about divorce, you obviously don't wanf relatives you are not much in contact with calling the shots over your partner with regards to medical treatment and care of children if you are ill or die.

exoticfruits Fri 05-Oct-12 06:47:52

People think that a marriage certificate is 'just a piece of paper' - it is far more. If you speak to a solicitor they will advise marriage- mine is responsible for quite a few couples getting married. You don't have to have a big wedding- pop down to the registry office with a couple of witnesses.

meditrina Fri 05-Oct-12 07:19:17

NOK is very unlikely to be an issue in UK, where a pragmatic approach will be taken (unless your DP has a difficult and vociferous family). You may however not be in UK when an accident strikes, and not everywhere will recognise a non-marital partner.

Government bereavement benefits are not available to those not married or in CP.

Some private pensions, usually older ones but check, pay nothing to those not married or in CP (but you should get something for DCs for whom DP has PR).

And you should check the ownership of every single major assets, review regularly and keep records of who has paid for what and to maintain what.

exoticfruits Fri 05-Oct-12 08:30:12

You are OK until a tragedy strikes and then you may be in a terrible mess-especially, as meditrina says, it happens abroad. Never assume anything-it is like travel insurance, we should read all the small print but don't until too late, a marriage certificate means that you can relax and it is covered-although still sensible to make a will.

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