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Does England and Wales need a cohabitation law?

The modern reality of two people living together does not fit with the inflexible and outdated principles of the laws that govern it

5 November 2011

The Office for National Statistics has published some interesting figures. They show that on the tenth anniversary of moving in with each other, half of cohabiting couples have got married, four in ten have separated, and only one in ten are still living together. Cohabitation therefore remains either a short-term relationship or flows into marriage.

But in the event of a breakdown, how well does the law protect or provide for cohabitating couples who have disputes which they need to resolve?

Going backwards

A couple who have a civil partnership or are married benefit from flexibility of the law. For example, a court ignores in whose name a property is held and who paid for what in relation to that property. This is forward looking in scope. The court does what it thinks is fair and has a huge degree of flexibility to produce a ...

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