In short, there is no such thing as a “common-law wife” (or husband). It makes no difference how long a couple may have lived together, neither has any legal claim over any property belonging to the other person unless they have married or are in a civil partnership… Of course, if they jointly own property, then they would each have a share, although there may be an argument over what share they each own. The law treats a couple who live together as husband or wife, but not married, in the same way for example as if they were two acquaintances sharing a property. It may be sensible to consider having a cohabitation agreement, so that both of you know where you stand in terms of your finances.
To make an appointment to see a family lawyer, please call us on 01243 790532 or email firstname.lastname@example.org