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The Rights of Cohabitants: When and how will the law be reformed?

Date:30 APR 2009

Edward Hess Barrister Harcourt Chambers and Deputy District Judge at the Principal Registry of the Family Division

Let us take an example of a family journey. At age 24 Andrew starts an engineering business and buys a house in his sole name with a large mortgage the repayments on which he is able to fund from his business income. At age 28 Andrew meets and falls in love with Belinda. Belinda is aged 25 and has made a good start in her career as a journalist. She moves into Andrew's house selling her own flat which has very little equity. She soon becomes pregnant and with Andrew's encouragement and support gives up her job to look after the baby. She has three children quite quickly and successfully devotes her life to bringing them up to adulthood. Twenty-five years pass. Andrew is now 53 and Belinda is 50. The children are all out of education. Andrew's business has thrived and is now worth £1 000 000 and provides him with an income of £100 000 a year. Over the last twenty years...

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