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Living with your partner? Then find out your rights.

BRITONS have a "worrying" lack of knowledge about the rights of unmarried couples, lawyers have said.

Couples have been urged to consider legal rights when moving in after a poll found two thirds of people are unclear about the rights of cohabiting couples.

Despite the fact almost six million Britons are unmarried couples living together, 67% do not know what legal rights cohabiting couples have.

Two thirds have incorrect perceptions about child custody, property or finance, according to the Co-operative Legal Services poll of 2,000 Britons.

The survey found three in 10 mistakenly believe cohabiting couples have the same financial rights as married couples.

And 67% did not realise such couples do in fact have the same legal rights in child custody matters.

Thirty one per cent did not know cohabiting couples do not have the same rights as married people when it comes to inheritance.

The latest Office for National Statistics figures show the number of people who are unmarried and not in a civil partnership but living with their partner doubled between 1996 and 2012 to 5.9 million people.

"It's clear that the modern family continues to evolve, but it's concerning to see that understanding of our legal rights lags behind - meaning many of us could be left vulnerable," said Jenny Beck, director of family law at The Co-operative Legal Services."
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 10, 2014
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