Ask the Lawyer: I’m in a throuple – is there anything we can do to legally protect ourselves?
PinkNews brings you the latest in a series of features which sees your real questions answered by leading lawyers at Simpson Millar.
The latest question comes from a person who is in a relationship with two other people and wants to know if there is a way they can legally protect themselves.
The reader asks: “I am in a relationship with two other people – we live together and want to protect ourselves legally. Is there anything we can do to get similar rights to a civil partnership or marriage?”
A Simpson Millar lawyer answers, saying: “Civil partnership or marriage is not recognised between more than 2 people in UK law, and there are no formal equivalents for a 3-person relationship.
“But, there are other ways to protect your individual rights when living together.
“If you’re living in rented accommodation, it is important to ensure you are all joint tenants with equal rights to maintain or terminate the tenancy. If the house has been purchased, make sure the property is held in tenants in common between each of you, with a declaration of trust in place ensuring that you would each receive your respective shares back if you sold the property.
“It is also strongly recommended that you each obtain wills, which reflect your wishes relating to the property and your assets. It’s important to remember that you will not be able to benefit from the intestacy rules that direct assets to a civil partner or spouse if someone passes away. So, it’s crucial that you each have wills to ensure you have control over how your estate will be dealt with if the worst should happen.”
Adding: “You may also wish to enter into a living together agreement, which is essentially a contract between all three parties that confirms the assets you each own, and what will happen in the event of a separation. It’s useful to seek independent legal advice and really important to have the contents of such an agreement checked before signing. The agreement will only be enforceable under contract law.
“Finally, if there are any children from the relationship, only the biological mother and father will have parental responsibility rights. If the third person in the relationship also wishes to have parental rights, they will need to look into obtaining step-parental rights via a parental responsibility agreement as a step-parent. The wills you each have drawn up will also need to include the children and any guardianship provisions.”
Disclosure: Simpson Millar is a PinkNews advertiser