01 December 2017

Myth five: Cohabitation rights and law reform: if the law doesn’t change then you cannot protect your position


Oliver Guest

Associate | UK

Follow our cohabitation campaign on social media using the following hashtags: #ABetterWay #ModernFamilies

This week's campaign by Resolution to raise awareness of the lack of legal rights for cohabiting couples cannot end today. The fact is that over 3.3 million couples are vulnerable to unknown financial insecurity and hardship due to the current state of the law (and that number is rapidly growing). Statistics also show that the vast majority of LGBTQ couples are cohabiting rather than entering into civil partnership or marriage, so there is greater need to raise awareness within the LGBTQ community.

The government must act quickly to put in place a structure of legal protection for couples who choose an alternative route other than marriage or civil partnership. Attitudes to family and relationships have changed drastically in recent years and we must support the needs of modern families.

Lifelong relationships, whether married or not, require huge commitment and personal sacrifice to make them work. A decision to end an enduring relationship, or a relationship where children are involved, is one of the most painful experiences of life, no less significant because of the lack of a marriage certificate.

In today's society, with the vast array of different relationship shapes, the law is completely out of step, with a stark contrast between the treatment of separating spouses and cohabiting couples at the end of their relationship. For separating spouses there is a comprehensive range of remedies and protections, for a separating cohabiting couple, there is nothing.

So we will continue to call on the government to reform the law. What can you do in the meantime? Please join the campaign, and personally, if you are one of the 3.3m you should read our Top 10 tips for cohabiting couples which sets out practical steps you can take to protect yourself and your family.

Cohabitation agreements

Click here for more information about family law and cohabitation questions.

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Category: Article

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