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This is not a question many people ask each other when they decide to share their first house together.

I for one have lived with someone who I was not married to and although the relationship did not work out, we did own a property together.

I was lucky that we were both sensible and sorted it out without the need for lawyers.

I also have friends who have happily lived with their partners for as long as I have been married.

However, these are male friends who own their own the property they live in and are quite happy to let the other half think she is going to get 50% if they split up, knowing full well the likely hood is they will get absolutely nothing.

You see, the common-law wife myth is still alive and well despite all the media attention it has received, blog posts and endless twitter arguments, you have virtually no rights as a long term girlfriend or boyfriend.

A case recently came to light where the woman had lived with a very rich man for 15 years, had helped him with his business and refurbished property with him, only to get absolutely nothing when they split.

She is now living on a friend’s floor.

How could all of this have been avoided?

She could have got married which would have given her a whole plethora of rights to property and maintenance or they could have entered into a cohabitation agreement, to regulate what would happen in the event of a split.

What if he had not agreed?

Well she would then have known he had no intention of looking after her if they split up and made a decision to carry on.

Even if you are not loaded a cohabitation agreement can deal with everything from who pays the rent and telephone bills to the proceeds in a joint bank account.

At just £399 including vat our cohabitation agreement service is perfect for the first time couple or the longer term partners and is drafted to your personal situation by experienced family law solicitors.

Get your cohabitation agreement here

This post was written by Mark Keenan. Editor of the Divorce Online Blog and Managing Director of Online Legal Service Ltd. Mark has been writing about divorce and related subjects for over 20+ years and is an expert in legal marketing.

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