Monday, 17 November 2008


The Conservative Party risks getting its policy on cohabiting couples badly wrong, judging by the proposals on family law announced this week by former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith. Denying legal protection to couples who live together, however, is no way to strengthen the institution of marriage. The fact is that governments have a responsibility to make law based on society as it actually is, and the number of couples living together in the UK continues to increase. Governments should also ensure legal protection for the vulnerable.

Members of Resolution regularly see the injustice suffered when the relationships of cohabiting couples break down. Even after decades together, many people find themselves homeless and facing real financial hardship. This is fuelled by a widely-held misconception that cohabiting couples have “common law” rights combined with existing law that is unclear and inadequate.

That’s why Resolution wants a new law to protect cohabiting couples and hopes that the Government will support Lord Lester’s ‘Cohabitation Bill’ which he will be introducing in the Lords in December, aimed at giving rights to couples who live together.


Fiona said...

Co-habitants don't necessarily need the same rights as married couples, but to deny them legal protection in this day and age is incredible. As far as I'm aware no one has produced any evidence contradicting the the Joseph Rowntree Foundation's findings that the absence of a parent per se wasn't the most most influential factor in poor outcomes for children of separated families, but there was a strong correlation between poverty with poor outcomes. The Conservative party is being very short sighted.

Judith said...

It also seems to have forgotten that a large percentage of those who are cohabiting believe that they do have rights to make claims on property or for maintenance if their relationship breaks down, which of course they presently do not.