A Worcestershire-based solicitors is urging unmarried couples to protect their finances and assets in case of separation.

Kennedy Langley, a family solicitor at mfg Solicitors, recently highlighted the myths cohabiting couples have around their legal rights, should they part ways.

Many individuals assume that cohabiting couples gain certain legal rights or protections over time.

However, Ms Langley is eager to debunk this myth.

She said: "Many people mistakenly believe that if couples live together for long enough, or after having children, they become "common law spouses" and automatically develop legal rights and responsibilities towards one another.

"This is sadly a widespread misconception."

She points out that while UK law can divide assets fairly between divorced couples, the same provisions do not extend to couples who only live together.

"Whilst upon divorce, the courts can make financial orders to divide assets or property between parties guided by the principles of fairness, needs and resources of either party – the starting point being a 50/50 split in the overall material assets - the same is not true of cohabitees," she said.

Ms Langley's concerns arise from recent figures which place cohabiting couples as the fastest growing family type in the UK.

More babies were reported to be born outside of marriage or civil partnerships last year, compared to those born within legal unions.

Despite this, cohabiting couples have no general legal status and appeals to reform cohabitation laws for better protection have been unsuccessful so far.

Such couples need to be aware of their vulnerable position in terms of financial security, property or access to pensions and savings.

Ms Langley recommends cohabitation agreements to alleviate such eventualities.

She said: "Cohabitation agreements can be entered into at any time during the relationship.

"It’s never too late.

"Taking the time to enter into a cohabitation agreement provides security and peace of mind and can save stress in the long run."

She suggests seeking expert legal advice to create these agreements which can be done by calling on 01562 820181 or emailing kennedy.langley@mfgsolicitors.com.