Cohabitation: Current Legal Solutions
University of Warwick - School of Law
Current Legal Problems, Vol. 316
Warwick School of Law Research
This paper considers the arguments that have been advanced to justify giving cohabitants the same rights as married couples, and suggests a number of reasons for caution: first, the fact that these are uncharted waters, given the relative novelty of cohabitation as a family form; secondly, the evidence that suggests that a ‘functional’ approach may actually justify rules privileging marriage; and, thirdly, the indications that the law may indeed play a role in individual decisions. It then goes on to review recent developments in the areas of contract, property and family law and to re-evaluate their potential to meet the needs of cohabiting couples, viewed in the light of the demographic background. It concludes by advocating incremental change combined with a more wide-ranging review of the legal treatment of marriage and cohabitation.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 32
Keywords: cohabitation contracts, constructive trusts, family home, common-law marriage, functional family law
Date posted: November 14, 2009