Resolution calls for cohabitation ‘safety net’

Family law organisation Resolution has called for legislation to provide a “safety net” for cohabiting couples.

The group responded to recently published figures from the Office for National statistics which revealed that cohabiting couples are the fastest growing family type in the UK. There are roughly 3.2 million of such couples in the country this year. This represents 17 per cent of all families.

Resolution claimed that this figure is evidence that British law needs to catch up the reality of modern life and families. The organisation’s spokesman on cohabitation law Graeme Fraser said that under current law, it is possible to “simply walk away without taking any responsibility for a former partner” once a relationship comes to an end, even if the couple lived together for decades and had children.

The impact this can have on women and children is huge, he claimed, “particularly in cases where a mother has given up or reduced her work to raise a family”.

Resolution called for “the urgent introduction of safety net legislation” to protect cohabiting couples and ensure “fair outcomes” for each of them when they break up. Fraser said that such legislation should focus on “children and mothers left vulnerable under the existing law”.

Last year, the organisation made a similar call for a cohabitation law following statements by senior judges Sir James Munby and Mr Justice Mostyn in support of such a move. Earlier this year, Resolution published their ‘Manifesto for Family Law’ which talked about the need for such legislation.

You can read the Manifesto in full here.

Photo by Aaron Loessberg-Zahl via Flickr

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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11 comments

Andrew - November 17, 2015 at 8:42pm

Protection for children during minority – of course. That may mean postponing the sale of a house which is jointly owned.
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But for the adults? No. Protecting one would amount to confiscation of the property of the other. There is no need to play “let’s pretend” – if people want to accept that regime they will marry and if they don’t marry they don’t want to accept it. It’s not rocket science.

stitchedup - November 18, 2015 at 10:29am

Frankly speaking it appears it’s Resolution that are out of date. Staying at home to look after the children is a lifestyle choice in the 21st century…. Those that can afford to do it should consider themselves fortunate.

stitchedup - November 18, 2015 at 10:51am

The article is riddled with bias, it talks of protecting couples but in reality it’s only women the author appears concerned about.

Nordic - November 19, 2015 at 8:44pm

As any other industry or trade association or labour union, Resolution serves the intersts of its members.. This proposal, which would greatly expand the family law “market place”, is not motivated by a genuine concern for children or mothers, but by the potential for its members to make more money.

Luke - November 25, 2015 at 1:28am

Yup, “Andrew” & “StitchedUP” & “Nordic” are all seeing through Resolution’s BS.
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What really hacks me off is this sort of PR bulls__t we get time and time again on this subject:
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‘Family law organisation Resolution has called for legislation to provide a “safety net” for cohabiting couples.’
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For half of the cohabiting couple Resolution want to set up a trap to catch them financially for something that they never signed up to – “safety net” my *** – if cohabitation reduced instead of increased the earning opportunities for their 6,500 members (i.e. lawyers) does ANYBODY think Resolution would be pushing for it so vociferously 🙂

Becky - February 1, 2016 at 6:56am

whatever relationship people choose to adopt……they should both take responsibility. more so in a case of such a relationship coming to an end ….children should be protect both by parents and the law. my thought

Andrew - February 1, 2016 at 9:23am

Children yes, while they are children – not adults without the formal commitment of marriage. That may mean keeping one parent (usually the father) waiting for his share of the assets until the children are older – provided the other can keep up the mortgage without maintenance to which she is not entitled. It also excludes pension sharing. That is the only safety net which one unmarried person should be forced to give the other.

Luke - February 1, 2016 at 6:00pm

You think you should have to share your private company pension if you cohabit ???
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Unless you have signed a contract with your cohabitee to that effect I think that idea is just wrong.

Andrew - February 1, 2016 at 6:51pm

No, Luke, I said the safety net should EXCLUDE pension sharing!

Luke - February 2, 2016 at 5:02pm

Yes, apologies I thought you meant exclude pension sharing from the things that are not included and that was the only safety net !
I misread your statement 🙂

D - March 16, 2016 at 8:34pm

Pretty much agree with the comments. The ‘Safety net’ is nothing much more that enforcing the marriage regime where it hasn’t been taken /adopted/ wanted. Its a blanket approach to assume agreements where perhaps one was explicitly not wanted. Its a matter for those involved, aside from the issues of minors where it’s perhaps in their interests for the state to be involved.
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Theres’s a flip side to “particularly in cases where a mother has given up or reduced her work to raise a family”.
.. which is …
“cases where the father has been the sole or major financial provider, been in a pressurised job, and had very little family life”
It might not have even been the preferred situation/ or agreed through forced circumstances, that one partner became sole provider and the other the carer. In fact in the modern world it seems absurd to lose potentially skilled workers completely through 100% childcare.
A situation which will be ‘punished’ in two ways; i) that the contribution to keeping a roof over the family’s head is something to be scoffed at, and going to work was the easy and fun option
ii)If the father has kept the family in a ‘manner they have been accustomed to ‘ i.e. been generous, he’ll be hit with the expectation he should keep his former partner in that manner whilst she regains her earning ability yet has nothing else to do with him.

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