Written evidence from Ian Gilmour [HAB0156]
No there should not and could not be a definition of cohabitation. It is by it’s nature undefined and flexible. That is why people choose to live in this type of relationship.
No changes are needed. Inheritance issues can be managed by making a will. The share of property and other assets can be managed by the parties making a contract.
People are in cohabiting relationships because they do not want the constraints of legal protection and would prefer to make their own if they do.
The children of cohabiting partners would be better protected by their parents / carers committing to marriage. Parents and children’s health and prospects are better where there is a commitment for life than when there is just commitment for as long as it is convenient.
No they have chosen this relationship because they do not want a prescribed relationship that binds them for the future as well as the present.
Cohabiting is not something that should be encouraged because the outcomes for those who are cohabiting are less good than for those who decide to marry. This applies to children as well as to the adults / parents.
May I add that introducing this suggestion would weaken marriage by confusing it with cohabitation. This would lead to more children being vulnerable and unprotected.