To be or not to be... married


Many couple believe that if they live together as ‘common law man and wife’ they will have the same rights and be treated them same as married couples when they separate. This is not the case! The law does not provide the same remedies or options for unmarried couples in relation to sorting out financial and property decisions on separation, as it does to married couples who are divorcing or same sex couples who have entered into a Civil Partnership.

Following a landmark Supreme court ruling in June this year, the Prime Minister has now announced that every couple in England and Wales will in future be able to choose between a civil partnership ( currently only available to same sex couples) and marriage. This will then provide the same legal redress when considering finance and property issues on separation.

There are estimated to be over 3 million unmarried heterosexual couples in England and Wales – none of which have any legal partnership rights. This can come as shock when separating, adding to the distress felt at such a difficult time. It can be stressful trying to resolve financial issues when a relationship breaks down and whether it is a married couple divorcing, an unmarried couple or civil partnership separating it can be difficult to discuss and agree on arrangements.

At Cheltenham Mediation all our mediators have previously practised as family solicitors and are accredited family mediators who can help all separating couples to untangle their finances and reach an agreement that works for them and their children.

To find out how we can help call us on 01242 220601, email us at or visit our website

Jason Conway