Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cohabitation law reform is at least a decade overdue says leading family charity

Jane Robey
The largest provider of family meditation in England and Wales has welcomed the passing of the Cohabitation Rights Bill’s Second Reading in the House of Lords.

National Family Mediation’s expert professionals help separating couples agree settlements on property, finance and parenting issues without the need for a courtroom drama. They achieve full agreement in over 80 per cent of cases.

The organisation’s Chief Executive, Jane Robey, says “Government recognition of cohabitation as being equal to marriage is at least a decade overdue, so the Cohabitation Rights Bill is a welcome step in the right direction.

“The disadvantages that exist for cohabitating people in lengthy relationships with children are profound, and have needed correcting for some time.

“The real difficulty in achieving reform in this area is that governments tend to step back from changing the law late in the game, for fear of being seen to undermine ‘the institution of marriage’.

“With the Lords Committee Stage of this Bill yet to be scheduled, and further subsequent steps in the Parliamentary process to be navigated, there is a worry that we could end up, a year from now, with no effective change having been brought about.”

The Cohabitation Rights Bill, which aims to give “certain protections for persons who live together as a couple or have lived together as a couple; and to make provision about the property of deceased persons who are survived by a cohabitant; and for connected purposes” passed its Second Reading in the House of Lords on Friday 12 December. The full text of the Bill can be found here.

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