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Resolution calls for law to catch up with cohabitation boom

Family law organisation, Resolution, has called for more action to be taken on improving the legal rights of cohabiting couples, following new research that shows a boom in the number of unmarried people living together.

Recently released data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that around one in eight adults in England and Wales are unmarried and living with a partner.

In response, Resolution chair, Jo Edwards said: “Cohabitation is the fastest growing type of relationship in the country, with the ONS finding that almost 12 per cent of the population are living with a partner without being married.

“Despite this, the law doesn’t give people in this type of relationship any meaningful legal protection if they separate or if one of them dies. In this, we lag far behind many other developed countries.”

She added that the research showed that the law had to keep up with our own changing society and that there was a real need to introduce legal recognition of cohabitees to “prevent continuing injustice.”

Resolution have said that they would like to see the creation of new laws to create legal rights for cohabiting couples and secure fair outcomes during separation or following the death of one partner.

Under their own proposals, 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 chooses to ‘opt out’.

Link: Resolution