Unmarried couples are now assessed jointly for benefits and taxes, like heterosexual couples. However, there is no such thing a ‘common law marriage’. Cohabiting couples do not have the same rights as married couples or civil partners. Property rights will generally stay the same as they were before the relationship. For example, if a person owns a house and moves their partner in but the relationship subsequently breaks down, then the property will remain that of the owner and the partner will generally have no claim on it.
Couples who do not want to have a civil partnership but wish to safeguard themselves should make wills and perhaps sign written agreements about what belongs to each partner, which could then be used in any later disputes.
For further information please contact Stonewall Cymru's Information Service on 08000 502020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org