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Call for evidence

Terms of Reference

Cohabiting couples make up the fastest growing type of family, with over 3.4 million couples cohabiting in England or Wales.[1] Couples who cohabit currently have less legal protection than those who are married or in a civil partnership in the event of death or separation. Despite this, there is a widespread perception that cohabiting couples have similar or identical rights to those who are married or in a civil partnership.

In 2007, the Law Commission published a report on the financial consequences of the breakdown of cohabitant relationships and recommended law reform. Since then, in 2011, the Coalition Government decided not to take forward the recommendations, and there has been little progress in this area since. Certain legal professionals have continued to call for greater protection under the law for cohabiting couples.

The Committee will examine what legal protection for cohabiting couples could look like and how this might be introduced. We welcome written evidence submissions from individuals, legal practitioners and organisations.

The Committee is inviting written evidence. Please note we cannot accept evidence that discusses on-going or active court cases.

Key questions for the inquiry are:

  • Should there be a legal definition of cohabitation and, if so, what should it be?
  • What legislative changes, if any, are needed to better protect the rights of cohabiting partners in the event of death or separation?
  • What equalities issues are raised by the lack of legal protection for those in cohabiting relationships?
  • Should legal changes be made to better provide for the children of cohabiting partners?
  • Should cohabiting partners have the same rights as those who are married or in a civil partnership?
  • Are there examples of good practice in relation to the rights of cohabiting partners in the UK or internationally that the Government should seek emulate in England and Wales?

You can submit evidence to this inquiry until Sunday 4 July.

 

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