A new member of staff has been welcomed at the Boston and Spalding offices of a Lincolnshire law firm – one with a message for cohabiting couples.
Chartered legal executive Claire Smith has joined the Family Law Department at Chattertons Solicitors & Wealth Management.
Claire is passionate about spreading the message to cohabiting couples that there is no such thing as a ‘common law marriage’.
According to the Office of National Statistics, the number of cohabiting couples is predicted to rise, with more than 3.3 million such couples recorded in 2017.
Claire, who cohabits herself, said: “If you do not intend to marry or enter into a civil partnership, but are intending to live together and pool your resources, you should always enter into a Cohabitation Agreement, ideally before you begin to live together.”
She is urging cohabiting couples to recognise that the law does not give them the same rights as married couples and civil partners to financial support or a share of assets when you no longer live together or upon one party’s death.
A Cohabitation Agreement records arrangements between two or more people who have agreed to live together, either as a couple or otherwise.
It generally covers who owns and owes what at the time of the agreement, what financial arrangements you have agreed to whilst living together and how your property, assets and income should be divided and what, if any, financial support you are willing to offer one another should you no longer live together.
After growing up in Spalding, Claire spent 20 years working at a local firm, specialising in family law since 2005 and qualifying as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives in 2007.
She added: “I’m passionate about family law and I’m looking forward to building a caseload in Spalding and Boston and being part of a leading law firm with an exceptional reputation.”
Edward Conway, chief executive officer, at Chattertons said: “Claire is known for her thorough but efficient service, listening to her clients and providing cost-effective pragmatic advice in plain English. She is a member of Resolution, which promotes a constructive approach to family issues, and we are delighted to welcome her to the team.”