Between the 28th November 2016 and 2nd December 2015 Resolution (formerly the Solicitors Family Law Association) are running a “Good Divorce Week”.

There are campaigns on no fault divorce and co-habitee’s rights.

There is a lobby day on 30th November when 150 Family Justice Professionals are going to Parliament to meet with their local MPs.

The current problem is that there are nearly six million people who live together in the UK without being married or in a civil partnership.   Co-habitees are the fastest growing family type in the UK.  And yet, in England and Wales, these people have little or no legal protection if they separate.

47% of the public aged 18 to 34 think cohabiting couples have the same legal rights as their married counterparts.  They do not.

It is possible to live together with someone for decades and even to have children together and then simply walk away without taking any responsibility for a former partner.  Resolution believes that this needs to change.  Currently, a rapidly growing proportion of the population have limited rights or ability to access support if their relationship breaks down.

Resolution calls for a legal framework of rights and responsibilities when unmarried couples who live together split up, to provide some legal protection and secure fair outcomes at the time of a couple’s separation or on the death of the other partner.  Other countries, such as Australia and Canada and closer to home, Scotland, recognise these relationships and recommended changes in this area.

Resolution proposes that cohabitants meeting eligibility criteria indicating a committed relationship would have a right to apply for certain financial Orders if they separate.  This right would be automatic unless the couple choses to “opt out”.

The Court would be able to make the same types of Orders as they do currently on divorce, but on a very different and more limited basis.

Awards might include payments for child care costs to enable a primary carer parent to work.

For further information contact Christine Pickwell on 01529 301300 or another member of the Ringrose Law Family Team.


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