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Cohabitation: why legislative reform is necessary

Date:8 OCT 2007

Stuart Bridge Law Commissioner. In July 2007 the Law Commission published its report Cohabitation: The Financial Consequences of Relationship Breakdown. The central recommendations are for the introduction of a statutory scheme of financial remedies available between certain cohabiting couples in the event of their separation referred to in the report as 'financial relief on separation'. The new scheme would apply only to those cohabitants who have had children together or who have lived together for a specified minimum duration. No recommendation is made on the length of this minimum duration requirement but it is suggested that it should be no less than 2 and no more than 5 years. The scheme would enable the courts to address more effectively than they currently can the economic consequences of certain contributions made by the cohabitants during their relationship. It would be wholly distinct from the regime which applies between spouses (and civil partners) in the event of divorce. It would be open to cohabiting couples subject to necessary protections to opt out of the operation of the scheme by written agreement...

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