Status of unmarried women in long term relationships should be taught in schools.

(293 Posts)
prorsum Sat 30-May-15 12:03:51

A friend of mine has recently separated from her partner of 16 years, 2dcs under 14.

Legally she is entitled to nothing, common law wife is not a legal status. She has performed all the acts a sahm wife performs yet it counts for very little.

Her partner would not get married despite her wanting it and I know why, he knew.

She's not a money grabber, just wants some security for her children in case he meets someone else and has other dcs.

We've both done google to get some information as she cannot get legal aid and it's not happy reading.

I'm not man bashing, I think that it would be useful for both sexes to be aware of the implication of living together but it does impact more negatively on women.

DisappointedOne Sat 30-May-15 12:05:05

This information is EVERYWHERE. Has your friend been living in a cave?

Gatehouse77 Sat 30-May-15 12:09:02

Why is it the school's job?

Parents are also responsible for educating their children, whatever their age.

Baaaaaaaaaaaa Sat 30-May-15 12:09:23

harsh as it may seem no-one forced her. She chose to continue to live with him. She chose to have children with him.

If she wanted to get married so badly and have the security that brings she should have found someone who wanted to be married.

Harsh, but true. And yes, women need to be better informed instead of listening to wives tales about common law.

prorsum Sat 30-May-15 12:11:07

No she hasn't, she's been raising two children in an unsatisfactory relationship with a controlling man who she rarely challenged. Her background of always having men look after her also played a part and she know this now.

I don't know how many people think about preparations for the end of relationships. I do but I'm a bitter, cynical old hag. She isn't.

Gatehouse77 Sat 30-May-15 12:11:26

Plus, assuming she was an adult when she embarked upon the relationship, she should have educated herself.

Ignorance is no defence.

AnyoneForTennis Sat 30-May-15 12:11:53

Lol that would be a ten minute lesson!

Don't be ridiculous op, school have enough to teach

ReallyTired Sat 30-May-15 12:13:39

I feel that there need to be legal recongition of hetrosexual relationships that does not involve the level of commitment of marriage. We need civil partnerships for hetrosexual couples as it would be wrong to pressurise someone into marriage. I don't think it would be wrong to pressurise couples into a civil partnership which is easily dissolved. I feel that couples in a registered relationship could be rewarded with lower council tax than two singles who houseshare. Maybe people in a registered relationship could have preferential treatment with the benefits system.

Marriage has benefits for men as well as women. It is harder for a man to get parental responsiblity if he is not married to the mother of his children. If you are not married and your partner dies without a will a common law spouse would inherit nothing.

The benefits of marriage are nothing to do with religion. It is legal evidence of a relationship between two people with rules for dissolving that relationship fairly.

Celticlassie Sat 30-May-15 12:15:38

Can you imagine the reaction if schools started teaching female students that marriage is the preferred state?! Not sure people would be delighted about that either.

Capricorn76 Sat 30-May-15 12:17:18

I've got a friend who's been with her DP for over 20 years with two under tens. She calls marriage a 'bit of paper'. Thankfully she's the higher earner and doesn't rely on him for money.

DawnOfTheDoggers Sat 30-May-15 12:17:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PattiODoors Sat 30-May-15 12:19:05

Oh man. I am sorry your friend sleepwalked into this situation.

Sadly she has found out the hard way that co habiting can be a disastrous decision if finances are lopsided.

Oh well, onwards and upwards - she'll need to find housing, get a job if not already working, distentangle money stuff like car insurance, on and on it goes.

LurcioAgain Sat 30-May-15 12:19:29

I think it's a good idea OP - there are enough people out there who do believe that there is such a thing as "common law marriage" that clearly ot isn't as self evident and obvious as some other posters seem to think.

I would put it in a life skills lesson about finance I think - part of a set of what if scenarios - one partner dies, they split - house in his name vs tenants in common.

We teach kids about STDs and contraception after all - we don't just brush the matter off by saying "you'd have to live in a cave not to know."

Stitchintime1 Sat 30-May-15 12:21:44

Seriously. 16 years with a man and two children and she's only just worked out her legal status. And you think the solution is to teach children about it? Yes, because that's what teenagers are preoccupied about. She will get child support I would have thought.

prorsum Sat 30-May-15 12:22:11

Gate How many parents sit down with their children and discuss marital law? How many children would actually listen to what may be advice from the shittiest parents, in the view of the child, ever.
Anyone Preparing young adults for the rest of their life is what school is for. Many kids learn nothing from their parents. That's why we have schools. Parents are not always the best for kids.
Really I totally agree. CPs are the way to go.

Tryharder Sat 30-May-15 12:23:51

To be honest, i am uneasy with the concept that we teach women that getting married is a meal ticket/financial blanket for life.

What about teaching women to sort out their own finances and improve their own earning capabilities?

ReallyTired Sat 30-May-15 12:24:13

I feel that schools need to teach male students that legal recongition of a relatioship is important. They also need to teach children the importance of making a will.

Long term cohabiting can hurt men as well as women. Lets say we have a happy couple with two children who jointly own an expensive house. The woman is killed in a car accident. The man is not deemed to be next of kin. The woman's brother/ parents are the ones who decide if the life support machine is turned off. The laws of intestity only leave a proportion of the house to the children. Greedy brother comes in and demands his share of the estate. Children lose home as well as their mother.

All relationships end eventually and there needs to be rules for sorting out what happens to property.

dixiechick1975 Sat 30-May-15 12:26:08

Yes should be covered in citizenship or whatever it is called. So many people think it is just a piece of paper.

When I was a trainee solicitor a woman came in she had read in the paper her husband had died in an accident at work. They had married as teenagers and never divorced (everyone assumed they had) Not seen him for years. She inherited (no will) and got a nice death in service payment too. The woman he had lived with for 20 plus years got nothing. I can remember all the secretaries being horrified.

Not just for women's protection but men too. eg if he has a baby unmarried he can only get PR if mother lets him accompany her to registration unless he goes to court. Married Dad automatic PR for his child.

Case of Swift v Secretary of state 2013 - unmarried woman couldn't claim under fatal accidents act re death of her partner at work as she had not lived with him long enough. One bit of paper (marriage cert) and she could have had some financial security for her and the baby. Instead a long drawn out court case.

No such thing as common law wife.

Stitchintime1 Sat 30-May-15 12:26:40

The best thing is to make a will.

DisappointedOne Sat 30-May-15 12:26:45

Why are people so unwilling/incapable of taking personal responsibility?

prorsum Sat 30-May-15 12:27:03

Thank you Lurcio I'm trying this thing where I try to be civil on internet debates the way I am in the real world but fuck it's difficult sometimes. They're all so perfect an knowledgeable on MN. Never ignorant, always up to date on everything. Plenty of women from all walks of life have found out to their cost that they were screwed by not being married.

People rarely just up and leave relationships because they are bad, it can take years as in this case. Jesus wept!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sallycinnamum Sat 30-May-15 12:27:59

The level of ignorance about cohabiting astounds me.

Half my female friends with children are not married and are completely unaware just how vulnerable they are.

One of the reasons I got married was because my solicitor spelt it out in black and white the worse case scenario should we split. It frightened me to death tbh.

Yeah it's only a bit of paper but my god it's an important piece of paper.

Eastpoint Sat 30-May-15 12:29:18

Do you think that 30 minutes of PSHE would be enough? If it is then YANBU, if you think it should take more than that YABU.

prorsum Sat 30-May-15 12:30:35

Disapointed Here we go. What is she unwilling to take responsibility for? Not dragging a man down the aisle. I never seen it done myself. Not being at a place where she could leave the relationship. Many sahm cannot just up and leave. You know who takes care of them and there children? The state. They become single parents on benefits and you know how the electorate just loves them.

WinterOfOurDiscountTents15 Sat 30-May-15 12:31:22

There seems to be an idea in the UK that everything a person needs to know should be taught in school. It's really weird.
Knowledge and information is everywhere. I mean, GOOGLE, people, y'all have a computer in your pocket these days, never have so many people had so much access to all of the knowledge.

There is no excuse at all for a grown woman in this day and age to not know the basics of her own life. Teaching this stuff in school is not the answer.
Is it shit for her? Sure. Does she deserve help and advice now if she needs it? Of course. But the original contention here is idiotic.

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