There have been calls for years now for the law to do more to help unmarried, cohabiting couples. When a couple marries, they immediately get certain legal rights and liabilities. So, for instance, their joint property and assets are split if they divorce, with a starting point of a 50/50 split and this is regardless of who has been paying the mortgage or generating the savings.
Archers fans may be reeling with the death of Nic Grundy, but there’s another issue that’s been exercising the minds of family lawyers in recent weeks. How are Pip Archer and Toby Fairbrother going to manage as parents? And how much of their legal responsibility they have yet come to terms with?
Second marriages and prenuptial agreements have been one of the most recent storylines of The Archers. Through the trials and tribulations in the relationship between Lillian and Justin the BBC radio show has cast its light on 21st century family life from the comfort of fictional Ambridge.
The office for National Statistics has recently reported that cohabitating couples are the fastest growing family type. Apparently, it is now the second largest family type and has doubled its figures from 1.5 million in 1996 to 3.3 million families in 2017. The explanation, I presume is that these days people are choosing to cohabit instead of marrying or at least to cohabit before marriage but I wonder why that is the increasing trend. Is it that people are afraid of marriage these days? Is it that living together before marriage is not frowned upon as much as it used to be and well… its just easier?
With a new Government in place, albeit one preoccupied with Brexit and unforeseen tragic events, is now the time to put more emphasis on equality in family law? We have marriage and civil partnerships for same sex couples, but what about the rights of cohabiting couples, and the rights of heterosexual couples to have a civil partnership instead of getting married?