Resolution calls for safety net for cohabiting couples
The Office for National Statistics figures published today callfor a change in the law in relation to cohabiting couples accordingto the family law group Resolution.
Figures show that there are now 3.3 million cohabiting couplefamilies in the UK, with the number more than doubling over thelast twenty years. A cohabiting couple usually relates to anunmarried couple living together as partners without entering intoa marriage or civil partnership.
In 2016, married or civil partner couple families remained themost common type of family in the UK although cohabiting couplefamilies were the fastest growing family type between 1996 and2016.
In the event that a cohabiting couple separates, they currentlyhave little or no legal protection - despite the myth of 'commonlaw' spouse which has no legal status. Resolution believes that thehigh growth in cohabiting couples is further evidence that the lawneeds to catch up with modern British society as until newlegislation is introduced cohabiting couples are not well protectedby the law.
Resolution Chair, Nigel Shepherd, said:
"These ONS figures are further proof that more and morecouples are choosing to live together and bring up their childrenwithout marrying. Sadly, some of those relationships will come toan end at some point. This is a feature of our modern society thatis here to stay and unfortunately current cohabitation law isfailing to provide them with the rights some of them mistakenlythink they have.
Rather than ignoring these 3.3million families, ourlawmakers must respond andintroduce safety net legislation thatwill provide legal protection and fair outcomes at the time of acouple's separation."
Resolution's spokesman Graeme Fraserstated that under current cohabitation law it's possible tolive with someone for decades and even to have children togetherand then simply walk away without taking any responsibility for aformer partner when the relationship breaks down.
Lastyear Resolution released its Manifesto for Family Law calling forthe introduction of some rights for cohabiting couples when theyseparate.
Thefull Office for National Statistics Report can be read here. https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/families/bulletins/familiesandhouseholds/2016
This article is for general guidance only. It provides useful information in a concise form. Action should not be taken without obtaining specific legal advice.