It is quite apparent that marriage is on the decline. Many couples simply cohabit instead. Increasing numbers of people need help and advice in connection with cohabitation disputes rather than marriage disputes.

What many cohabiting couples do not realise is that cohabitation does not create a legal, binding relationship in the same way that marriage does. Even in the modern age of human rights, when divorce reform is meant to be on the agenda and civil partnerships have been introduced, cohabiting couples still do not have the same level of protection that is enjoyed by their married counterparts-there is no such thing as “a common law marriage!”.

Some people may have had the foresight to enter into a cohabitation agreement. Others will have economic independence and will be able to weather any results and financial storms. However, most people are not in such favourable positions. As ASM Plus’s family case studies demonstrate, one very good option for disputing cohabiting couples is to go to mediation – In practice mediation gives the parties the flexibility to reach a mutually binding an acceptable agreement that could not otherwise be achieved – not only will they save a lot of money by going to mediation but they could achieve a great deal more.