Many couples live together without marrying or registering a civil partnership. They often do so to avoid legal complications. Since 1 January 2011, however, simply “living together” can create certain legal rights and responsibilities.
If you are a qualifying cohabitant you can claim compensatory maintenance, property transfer and a pension adjustment order and make a claim against the Estate of a deceased cohabitant. This is called the Redress Scheme. In order to be a qualifying cohabitant you need to have lived together for a period of two years and have a child together or lived together for five years.
The legislation also encourages couples who live together to draw up their own cohabitation agreement setting out the arrangements for when they live together and what is to happen if they split up. This can include opting out of the Redress Scheme.