15 June 2007
Divorce laws to be extended to cohabiting couples
Planned law reforms will mean unmarried couples will be granted rights akin to divorcing couples, it has been reported.
Although many people perceive that the act of cohabitation means they are considered "common law" spouses in the eyes of the law, currently co-habiting couples who split up do not have any financial rights, regardless of the duration of their relationship.
However, according to a report in the Times, should the reforms become law, divorce laws will be extended to allow unmarried couples to pursue "lump sum payments, a share of property, regular maintenance or a share of their partner's pensions when they separate".
Meanwhile, unmarried men and women who gave up a job to care for children will also be able to mount claims against their partners for loss of earnings, it is claimed.
Plans to prevent couples who have been in short-term relationships from mounting claims in the event of a split have been rejected by the Law Commission, moreover.
However, it is thought that claims from couples with children or who have been together a longer time are to be more likely to be successful.