The myth of common law marriage

It is probably the most persistent misconception of all – the idea that you acquire legal rights if you live with someone, or live with them for a certain length of time.

“But we’re common law husband and wife”. 

There’s no such thing as common law marriage.  If you live with someone without marrying them you have no financial claim against them if the relationship breaks down.  If there’s a child, there are some financial remedies available, but they are limited. If you own a share of the house you live in, that’s still your share, but you can’t get anything by way of capital or income simply by virtue of having lived with someone.