A BILL to give rights to cohabiting couples will be introduced this autumn as part of a new “Living Together” campaign launched by the family lawyers group, Resolution.
Currently couples, carers and siblings who live together face injustice and considerable financial hardship as existing legislation does very little to protect people from losing their home or sliding into severe financial difficulties if their relationship breaks down or their partner dies.
The bill is to be introduced by Lord Lester of Herne Hill QC, who commented: “Sensibly drafted legislation is urgently needed to tackle the vulnerability not only of unmarried cohabiting couples and their children but also co-dependent carers and siblings who live together.”
According to the National Statistics Office one in six couples in the UK co-habit and do not marry and this is predicted to rise to one in four over the next 20 to 25 years.
The Bill is likely to apply only to people living in the same household for a minimum period of time and were the parties are financially committed to each other. Couples could choose to “opt out” of the scheme using a cohabitation agreement, provided proper legal advice is sought by both parties to protect the vulnerable.
Partner Antonia Love comments: “It is undoubtably the case that proper legislative protection for cohabiting couples and co-dependents is long over-due. Many other countries already have protection for cohabiting couples and it time that England and Wales had similar protection for a growing number of people”
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