Written evidence from Dr Andrew Perkins [HAB0237]

 

Thank you for your call for evidence on the matter of rights for cohabiting partners. I am making a submission to your committee because although the idea of providing safeguards for cohabiting partners is well meaning, it will detract from the value of marriage or civil partnerships. There are other remedies open to cohabiting partners: namely marriage or making a Will.

Your first question highlights the nub of the problem, namely coming up with a working definition of “cohabitation”. What ever definition is put forward, some people will inevitably be left out. Many people are involved in serial relationships which last varying lengths of time.   In the event of a claim on assets, who should be able to claim, the last cohabitee or all of them?

 

No legislatives changes are needed, as the law already provides through marriage all the necessary safeguards & commitments. People are free to make proper provision for a surviving partner through a Will. The obligation to adequately provide for dependent children should be enshrined in law.

Yes. If this is not already the case, fathers should be liable for the maintenance of ALL their children, including those born outside of marriage or civil partnerships.

 

No. This would detract from the benefits of marriage. Making a public declaration of a lifelong covenant is the best to ensure that spouses treat each other properly & make provision for their children & surviving spouses. The law already has plenty of remedies for where this does not work out.

 

Marriage freely & openly entered into, provides the best practice for the nurture of long term relationships & for the bringing up of children. Cohabitation is much more likely to break down leading to greater unhappiness. Currently the cost of family breakdown to the public purse is about £50bn each year.

 

June 2021