The English TV producer and entrepreneur Simon Cowell has been enjoying a very successful, very happy relationship with his partner, New York socialite Lauren Silverman, since 2013. The two announced they were together after Silverman’s pregnancy came to light, and now have a 3-year-old son, Eric, together. There’s no sign that the two are planning on splitting up any time soon – in fact there’s rumours that this might finally be the year in which Simon proposes. But what would happen if the two decided to go their own ways for whatever reason?
Simon’s dating history shows that it would probably be an amicable split. He has a tendency to remain friendly with his ex-partners, which bodes well for him and Lauren. One of Simon’s exes, TV presenter Terri Seymour, has been seen vacationing this summer together with the happy couple at Los Cabos, Mexico, and he’s still very close to another one of his old partners, singer Sinitta. He’s even managed to remain close to his ex-fiancée Mezhgan Hussainy, whom he was engaged to until 2011. But even during an amicable split, especially one where there is a child’s welfare at play, there are bound to be problems to solve.
A ring can make all the difference
Simon and Lauren are not married, but simply cohabiting. Unfortunately, the law in England and Wales does not recognise couples living together as a legal partnership, and this means that cohabiting couples have very limited rights should they ever break up. Equally, legislation in New York doesn’t allow for common law marriage, regardless of the number of years a couple has resided together and regardless of whether they consider each other as husband and wife.
However, there are ways to protect yourself before the worst happens. A cohabitation agreement is a document signed by both partners which sets out provisions for what should happen to the financial assets, children, and property should the relationship ever break down. This can protect each partner from lengthy legal disagreements, and it gives each partner rights and responsibilities that they wouldn’t otherwise have unless they were married. In particular, cohabitation agreements can be particularly important to settle financial matters, and as such could be fundamental in a relationship of such high visibility such as that between Simon and Lauren. If you’re thinking of moving in together, our solicitors can help you draft a cohabitation agreement that fits your relationship and your needs, and help you plan ahead for yours and your children’s future.
Thinking of the children
Due to the lack of matrimonial assets to split, the welfare of their child, Eric, would probably be the most complex issue to deal with in case of a break-down of the relationship. Ideally, child matters would be solved out of court, through mediation if the couple is unable to come to a compromise independently. However, should no agreement be reached, courts do have the right to decide on parental responsibility, residency, and child contact arrangements even if the couple was not married. The judge will have the children’s welfare in mind while making a decision. First of all, the judge will listen to the wishes of any children old enough to express their preference, although in Eric’s case this is not really possible. The court will also take into account who the primary caretaker of the children has been in the past, the financial situation of the parents, and who can provide the most stability for the child in relation to their emotional and educational needs.
Currently, Eric mostly spends his time with his mother in New York while Simon Cowell is busy with his TV shows. Here, he is also in touch with his older half-brother Adam, which Lauren had from her ex-husband. Because of the desire to prevent an upheaval in the children’s place of residence, and because of Simon’s busy professional life which would impede him from devoting his attention to him, Eric would probably remain with his mother. Moreover, even if they were never married, having a child together may entitle Lauren to make a financial claim against Simon, in order to help her with economic matters concerning Eric’s upbringing. While that would have a small impact on Cowell’s financial situation, the courts would also consider the fact that Lauren herself has a high net worth, and it would be unlikely that she should need monetary assistance in raising Eric. However, the couple is currently going strong, and there are no whispers of any break-up in the near future, so hopefully they won’t have to worry about these matters any time soon.