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Liberal Democrats to vote on extra rights for cohabiting couples

New financial rights for cohabiting couples are set to be debated at the Liberal Democrat autumn conference in Glasgow.

Under the proposals, partners who have lived together for two years would gain the right to make a financial claim, with the amount eventually awarded reflecting any financial losses they incurred as a result of the relationship – for example, giving up a job.

Currently, couples who live together without marrying have few legal rights when they separate.

The plans have attracted the support of the party’s leadership, The Independent reports. A recent poll of MPs suggests around 60 support from all parties would also support reform to cohabitation law.

Proponents of the measure have also called for legal changes to intestacy law protecting cohabitants if their partner dies without leaving a will.

Party members are set to debate the measure at the biannual Liberal Democrat party conference on Monday.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Luke says:

    It’s not ‘extra rights’ for cohabiting couples at all, there will be no money from the public purse – all it means is that the cohabitee with less money will have the right to asset strip the wealthier cohabitee even though there is no contract at all.

    Another illiberal ill thought out move from the Liberal Democrats…

  2. Tracy W says:

    How the courts are meant to tell whether someone suffered suffered financial loss because of a relationship is a big puzzle, given the differing motives people have for things and how seldom they are articulated on paper ahead of time.

    And what if someone quit their job and pursued a dream, say started a business with their partner’s support, but the business failed. Does the partner, having paid once to support their dream, have to pay again because their ex-partner made a financial loss? Sounds like a great scam for certain con-artists, first you con someone out of money with false claims of affection, then you dump them and threaten to sue them for your loss of earnings.

    And could this lead to a poorer partner having to make payments to a richer one, say if the richer one paid off debts of the poorer, or helped support children from a previous relationship?

  3. Luke says:

    Yes Tracy, it will be a legal nightmare all round – but a lot of lawyers will benefit…

    I know, I know, Marilyn – how could I be so cynical 🙂

  4. Bill says:

    It doesn’t even need to be the case that the man is ‘wealthy’ as Luke says. He could be struggling, but will still be nailed to the cross and threatened with prison. These new measures are simply about appealing to the women’s vote.

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