Thursday, 3 February 2011

Senior Judge calls for change in law to benefit cohabitees

Sir Nicholas Wall, the president of the Family Division, has today said that Unmarried couples who split up after living together should have legal rights to a possible share of property and money. He added courts would be more sympathetic to a claim where the couple had been living together for a significant amount of time.

Currently apart from when children are involved a judge has no discretion to make financial provision or adjustment in the same way as is possible when dealing with married couples.  A sixth of couples in Britain live together with the number expected to rise.

Sir Nicholas told the Times: "I am in favour of cohabitees having rights because of the injustice of the present situation. Women cohabitees, in particular, are severely disadvantaged by being unable to claim maintenance and having their property rights determined by the conventional laws of trusts."

He added: "If cohabitation has been short and the contribution minimal, judges would not be sympathetic to a claim."

Morgan Jones and Pett are solicitors who provide legal advice and services to clients based in England and Wales and who can be contacted on 01603877000 or via email at

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