Posted by Simon Bassett, Partner
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Increasing number of cohabitees leads to new calls for change in the law
The latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has confirmed that unmarried couples living under the same roof are now the fastest growing family type in Britain. Resolution, a leading family law association, said that politicians should look …
The latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has confirmed that unmarried couples living under the same roof are now the fastest growing family type in Britain.
Resolution, a leading family law association, said that politicians should look to change the law regarding cohabitees and ensure that they receive adequate legal protection.
Graeme Fraser, Resolution’s spokesman on this area of legislation, said: “Under current cohabitation law it’s possible to live with someone for decades and even to have children together and then simply walk away without taking any responsibility for a former partner when the relationship breaks down.
“This can have a huge impact on women and children, particularly in cases where a mother has given up or reduced her work to raise a family.”
According to the ONS Families and Households survey, there are now 3.1 million opposite sex couples cohabiting in the United Kingdom. This is equivalent to almost one in five families nationwide.
Discussions about changing the law to reflect profound social change have been going on for many years and the idea of granting new rights to cohabitees has been endorsed by a number of leading legal bodies.
Only last year, Sir James Munby, president of the family division, spoke in favour of reform, although any concrete plans to change the law have not been confirmed by the Government.
Unmarried couples who are living together may decide to draft a cohabitation agreement. This is an opportunity to set out financial arrangements for themselves any children in the event of their separation. For advice on drafting an agreement please visit or contact Patrick Hart.
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