Sunday, September 10, 2006

Cohabitation - A Change in the Law?

WHY BOTHER TO GET MARRIED?

There are 2 differences between getting married and living together:

  1. A wedding
  2. Legal rights and obligations

For some people the wedding is the most important bit, and we've all been to some great dos where no expense was spared but the couple in question have got nothing in common, not even sudoku!

The change in the law to allow same sex couples to have a wedding and the legal rights and obligations of marriage, in a Civil Ceremony, has created equal rights for homosexual couples. We can't call it marriage though, because it would upset some religious people, and looking at the state of the world, a lot of them are upset enough already!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BUT WHAT OF THE COHABITEES?

Many people are calling for a change in the law to introduce similar rights and obligations to those couples who choose to live together, but who choose not to formalise their relationship. The Government is considering introducing laws to impose legal obligations on cohabiting couples, for example, if they had children or lived together for at least 2 years. I would advice caution here for the following reasons:

  1. Some people choose not to get married, not just because they don't want to pay for a wedding but because they don't want to encumber themselves with the legal obligations that marriage entails. Their reaction to any legal commitment by default will be to live apart. Typically, the more wealthy male will still buy a house on his own, but the unemployed female and 2 kids will join the housing queue. She and the kids will probably stay with him 5 nights a week, but now she will have her own house and either work at Tescos 16 hours a week to qualify for working tax and child tax credits, or she will go on benefits.
  2. It might upset some religious people!

3 comments:

gary said...

Hi, i have just been to court over myself and my ex partner with whowm i cohabitated with in her house for 6.5 years and i renovated the whole house, she brought it for 75 thousand and now it worth 280 thousand, the judge dismissed the case saying any d.i.yer could do the work. The judge seemed to be very one way in this case. Now i have to sell my flat to pay all the costs. Is this fair? gary.

Lynne Bastow said...

That is why they are considering changing the law. If you had paid for substantial works, eg. an extension and had evidence to show you had spent money doing so, only then would you have a case. The law as it is can be very unfair. If you pay for a carpet it does not give you an interest in the property but....you do own the carpet.

gary said...

i showed the judge that i had evidence of myself paying half the house bills and that the work i had done to the value of 25 thousand pounds but he dismissed my barrister completly. Imust say that he did NOT order me to pay any costs but i just presume i have to. Now i will be homeless myself.