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Cohabitation reform in England and Wales– comparative perspectives; and how to reset the reform campaign?

Date:18 APR 2023
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Graeme Fraser Head of Family BBS Law

This article summarises the Cohabitation Reform in England and Wales Conference in January 2023. Opt out regimes tend to be more common in other jurisdictions than opt in with most countries limiting what cohabitation laws can be contracted out of. The underuse of cohabitation law in Scotland is considered together with the Scottish Law Commission’s recommendations to improve existing legislation. Academic and practitioner perspectives are provided in respect of cohabitation law in England and Wales. Topics include tackling the common law marriage myth; the classification of those in non-legally binding marriage ceremonies as cohabitants; and the need for reform arising from failures to recognise relationship generated disadvantage and non-financial contributions most often by women who have looked after the children during a long relationship. In resetting the campaign for cohabitation law reform lessons are drawn from the successful campaign for no-fault divorce with legal rights for cohabitants on separation and death identified as top priorities for future campaigning. In resetting the reform campaign the key messages are that the most effective thing we can do is accept more of...

Read the full article here.