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Co-habitants' Rights

(18 Posts)
STIDW Tue 02-Oct-12 18:31:03

Rather than hi-jack the original thread I've started a new one so poster can debate proposals to introduce cohabitation rights if they want

Xenia Tue 02-Oct-12 11:12:32 wrote;

*We all know the current proposals to give unmarried live in lovers extra legal rights and I hope everyone on the tread lobbbies against them. Thankfully the Government has not proceeded so far. As for those rights mentioned - yes they can sometimes be established but thankfully there is a vast difference between rights of married people and cohabitants and so there should be.

(I don't like to say what I do on mumsnet but given the comment above perhaps I need to say that I am not exactly a layperson and any lawyer on the thread will agree with me that married people have much wider rights where thehouse is not in joint names than mere cohabitants - thankfully)*

I suspect, Xenia, you haven't had a great deal of experience of turning away co-habitants who have no legal redress for the hardship they suffer when they are left homeless and penniless perhaps after a lifetime's relationship ends.

The way I see it is regardless of marital status family law is there to regulate families in all their forms, protect individuals in families and to ensure fairness. That's why IMHO rights for cohabitants are long overdue. Children should never be treated as second class or live part of the time in poverty with one parent whilst living or staying with the other parent in relative luxury the rest of the time.

STIDW Tue 02-Oct-12 18:31:46

Xenia Tue 02-Oct-12 19:04:49

I don't agree at all.Adults must take personal responsibilty. As long as we treat women as chattels to be kept by men they will never protect themselves by staying in work. If someone chooses not to be married they shouldn ot have to take on the yoke of a perfectly competent adult dependent. The live in lover should not be protected like the wife or husband would be.

Yes, it may seem hard against sponging leeching women or stilly women who chose to give up work or who thought it quite nice not to have to lift a finger and live off male earnings but why should they get some huge financial boost for that if they are not a wife and he did not want to marry her because she wasn't good enough or he did not love her enough or he didn't want the financial exposure?

The current law is very fair in England and thankfully it looks like it will not be changed. I hope most mumsnetters will lobby to ensure it is left as it is.

azazello Tue 02-Oct-12 19:11:56

I don't think co-habitants rights are a good idea. If you want security, marriage is inexpensive and easy; there are legal arrangements for wills etc which are reasonably straightforward to draw up if you don't want to get married or you fon't approve of marriage; even if you own a property jointly you are in a reasonable position.

The only case in which I think there is an argument for cohabitants rights is where there are also children involved and this should really be dealt with by the CSA.

Xenia Tue 02-Oct-12 19:17:14


If chidlren are involved then yes there are CSA etc rights. If there are no children why should a hulking great adult woman or man get kept by a previous live in lover when they have been thrown out on their ear? Why should you get money which you never earned? Women are not possesssion of men to be handed by their father to a man who then owns and keeps and pays to them.

If he won't marry you and you don't earn enough for a family don't have children or find a man who will be able to marry you nad keep you. Don't wheedle your way into his property, have his children in advertently as so many women do and then sting him for money for life. It's morally disgusting.

OddBoots Tue 02-Oct-12 19:20:02

People who choose not to marry choose not to have the rights and responsibilities that come with marriage and they are entitled to do so. If people are doing this in ignorance then maybe that's a matter for education be that in schools or via public service.

The same however cannot me said for parenting, when you have a child then you have an obligation to them until their adulthood, I do think there needs to be some change here to improve support for children with a non-resident parent, regardless of the parental marital status.

monsterchild Tue 02-Oct-12 19:38:22

I'm not entirely sure what you are saying, is it that marriage (where traditionally a woman is seen as chattel to her husband-at least up until very recently) isn't exploitive of women?
Or that adults who don't work outside the home are valueless?

Is child rearing something that you think is only worth paying non-family to do?

I agree, people should become educated and should protect themselves. Caveat Emptor and all that. However, unless there is some way for you to help them to become educated, I don't see why it should concern you how others deal with their relationships. How does creating co-habitation rights for families impact you, exactly?

Where I live, there are co-habitation rights in some areas. If you are together long enough (and it's not all that long, really) you are basically married by default. Perhaps this is a better option for the UK?

Xenia Tue 02-Oct-12 19:40:03

No, I think it's very much a worse option and one England should not adopt. It infantalises women and holds them back in terms of rights and jobs. It is a very bad thing. It also means women of means get ripped off by live in lovers too. We are lucky in the UK that common law wives and husbands do not have marital type rights and a lot of English people are fighting hard to ensure the law stays at it is.

monsterchild Wed 03-Oct-12 01:23:03

I apologize, Xenia, I am confused; you're saying that not being married and not working infantilizes women and men? If so, what exactly qualifies as work then?

I see what you are saying regarding marriage as a legal contract that binds the parties to obligations if the contract is breached and that people should have their expectations of what they get in the event of a breach down in black and white.

I'm playing the devil's Advocate here,

However, in other types of law binding contracts are often created by the actions of the parties, and never "written" as contracts. Why should this be so different for families? There's all sorts of precedent for implied consent to many things, why not to marriage? I mean, if you (as the one with assets) are benefitting from having a live in childminder/sex partner/housekeeper (all of these are actual jobs, ie work, BTW), why shouldn't you have to pay for breaching that implied contract of employment/housing/support when you kick him/her out?

Again, I am not trying to change any laws in England, but I am genuinely curious about your view point on what work is and why you are willing to apply some contract law to family law, but not all of it? Why you assume that only the less advantaged partner is the one acting in bad faith?

olgaga Wed 03-Oct-12 07:41:43

Why you assume that only the less advantaged partner is the one acting in bad faith?

Yes, I'd like to know that too!

If you are prepared to have children with someone, isn't it bad faith to refuse your partner the protection of the Matrimonial Causes Act?

I wish there was less ignorance about the risks of cohabiting - there is a great deal of it, even here on this website. It's a myth that you can reproduce the protection of marriage through "legal agreements", but read it on this website all the time. Some people seem to think it's a matter of feminist principle to forge ahead and have someone's children without the protection the law offers.

The simple message is, if you want to have children with your partner, get married first. If they won't marry you, move on!

olgaga Wed 03-Oct-12 07:46:55

I meant to add, the Government has already stated very clearly that the campaign for cohabitation rights is dead in the water - for this partliamentary term at least:

Overcooked Wed 03-Oct-12 08:01:11

therein the problem lies - if he/she won't marry you move on.

People really need to start seeing marriage as more than a big party, there should be no reason why someone who is prepared to have children with someone won't marry them first. Women (generally) should not be settling becuase they feel their biological clock is ticking, you (and your offsrping) should have the protection of marriage - especially so if one party is preparing to step out of the workplace to have children becuase it's not as simple as stepping out for five years and picking up where you left off.

Children are a much, much bigger commitment than marriage so marriage (and the protection it offers) should always come first.

caramelwaffle Wed 03-Oct-12 08:22:19

I agree. Cohabitation Rights should not have an equal footing with the marriage contract.

More and more women especially are becoming women of independent means, however they still tend to be the ones left holding the baby/raising the children without the previous partner making a significant financial contribution; more money should not be diverted to (mainly men) who have left - and whom may not even be a biological parent (therefore, not even CSA payments being forthcoming) (Just one point)

This should be taught in schools along with real life economics - but that is another thread I feel.

Please excuse grammar - am in a rush.

Xenia Wed 03-Oct-12 18:35:32

That's what I thought olga and it's very good news that it is dead in the water. I am not against an education campaign so that female scoungers searching for richer men to live off of life are told that their honey trap will fail unless he marries her.

olgaga Wed 03-Oct-12 20:31:59

Xenia - presumably you would also be for an education programme which ensured that men understood that sex without contraception might result in an unexpected pregnancy and the responsibility that involves.

titchy Wed 03-Oct-12 22:00:11

Out of interest isn't a wealthy woman, (whether from her career, like you Xenia, or independent means) better off NOT getting married if they split up?

olgaga Wed 03-Oct-12 22:16:19

titchy probably but women in that situation are very much in the minority. They also tend to marry men who are in a similar financial/social position to themselves.

Xenia Thu 04-Oct-12 09:28:48

We are increasing in numbers.

I have no problems with publicity and free speech whether that is to tell men that if you don't want babies you might have to support as to 50% don't have sex or have the snip or whatever we want to tell them. Just as much as we tell that to women and as much as we shout from the rooftops cohabitants have nothing like the rights of those married and hurray for that so don't go into dependence with your eyes closed - keep that full time job, rise to head HSBC (as a woman), let your live in lover lose his earning power by spending 5 years changing nappies if he is so keen to have someone at home.

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