Many Jersey couples probably aren’t aware that common law marriage is not recognised by the Courts, and are risking entitlements to assets if the relationship breaks down, says Appleby Partner and Family Law expert, Victoria Myerson.
Speaking to over 70 delegates at the Women’s Development Forum‘s (WDF) latest event, sponsored by Appleby, Victoria Myerson commented: “A really surprising number of couples just don’t know that “common law marriage” is not a recognised legal status, and therefore does not provide an automatic entitlement to a share of the assets amassed over the course of a relationship when it breaks down.”
“There are many legal pitfalls in cohabitation and the associated idea of a ‘common law spouse’ is simply a myth that couples need to be wary of.”
Victoria also updated delegates on the evolving treatment of women by the divorce courts from “reasonable needs” to “equality” and the increasing value of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.
She added: “Family law is an interesting barometer of social change and by bringing these subjects to the forefront of these ladies minds we hoped to create some thought provoking discussions and highlight how far the courts have come over recent years.”
Michelle Johansen, Founder of WDF added: ”Appleby is one of our founding sponsors here in Jersey and we are delighted that Victoria has presented on this fascinating and worthwhile subject, one which is seldom talked about openly. The way that females are treated in divorce cases, and the outcome of such cases has changed tremendously over the years and it is important for all females (and males) to have their financial affairs in order should a relationship break down. Victoria has definitely highlighted areas in which this can be done through pre-nuptial/post-nuptial agreements which now carry weight in divorce cases’. The next WDF in Jersey will be on 15th July, more information can be found at www.wdforum.org”.