No10’s first cohabiting couple

As Boris Johnson settles in to his new residence at No 10 Downing Street with girlfriend Carrie Symonds it seems that they may just be the first ever cohabiting couple to move in. Is this just another subtle sign that society is starting to accept and recognise cohabiting couples as equals to our married counterparts?

Generally it seems that cohabitation law is really starting to see a distinct but subtle shift in recent months with landmark decisions over pension rights and cases such as Horn -v- Chipperfield and Springall -V – Paice receiving national press coverage. The former case being one where Katy Barber of Moore Blatch acted for Ms Chipperfield.

Why is the difference between married and unmarried so important?

If a relationship breaks down, the law tends to be much harsher on the financially weaker party. The courts tend to view the relationship similar to business or other commercial type arrangements where by documentation is key and without it (as is often the case) a long evidence gathering exercise begins to show ‘intention’.

If a relationship has broken down where the parties were never married, it can never be assumed however that no financial claims can be made. Not only can claims be made on behalf of a former partner but also on behalf of any children of the family that require assistance. It is always preferable to obtain specialist legal advice in these situations so that assets are never at risk from unanticipated financial claim form a former spouse. Maybe Boris should consider a Cohabitation Agreement.

For further advice and information please contact Family Solicitor, Katy Barber on 023 8071 8056 or email: