London, Dec 30 (ANI): A new trend has come up whereby live-in couples are paying tens of thousands of pounds in settlement to their former partners after break-up.
The 'break-up payments' are becoming increasingly common as more and more couples are living together for several years without marrying.
The legalities involved can be chaotic, as unlike a marriage where a spouse is usually entitled to half the couple's assets when the relationship ends, the law for live-in couples is not set.
Law firm Pannone has reported a 40 percent rise in these payments in the past five years, claiming people are taking advantage of the uncertain legal status of unmarried couples to issue "nuisance" demands.
Some people were willing to pay up to 100,000 pounds to former partners to avoid lengthy legal action, which can last up to 18 months.
One in four children is born to cohabitees, and recent actions have involved custody of children, jointly owned property, bank accounts and even pets.
There are 2.3 million cohabiting couples and the number is expected to double in the next 25 years.
Vicki McLynn, a senior associate at Pannone, suggested the problem was partly due to such disputes being dealt with using property rather than family law, as no legislation had yet been passed making clear the rights of unmarried partners when they split up.
"It can ultimately be a case of 'he said, she said' - one partner's ability to be more convincing than the other in court can be crucial in determining how cases are settled," the Daily Mail quoted her as saying.
"Given that element of risk and the assets at stake, many family and litigation lawyers in our firm and elsewhere are seeing clients wanting to pay up to end the matter," she stated. (ANI)