Legislation for cohabiting couples on Women’s Hour

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November 20, 2009

Marilyn Stowe appeared on Women’s Hour on Friday 20 November 2009 to debate the proposed changes to legislation for cohabiting couples.  She struck back against Baroness Deech’s condemnation of the proposals and her criticism of women on the breakdown of relationships as undermining female emancipation.

Marilyn objected to the comments saying, ”

 

I believe that Baroness Deech causes gratuitous untold offence to women who may unwittingly find themselves in that situation; she even perpetuates what I believe is overwhelmingly a myth of “profiteering gold diggers” seeking to benefit from a cohabitation breakdown – when nothing, in my experience, could be further from the truth.”

 

Should cohabiting couples who separate have the same rights as married couples who divorce?

In a public lecture at Gresham College on Tuesday, Baroness Ruth Deech criticised the Law Commission’s proposed change to the law that would give couples who live together for 5 years the same rights as those who are married if they separate (those who’ve lived together for between 2 and 5 years should receive half of what a spouse would in the case of separation). Baroness Deech said “women do not need and ought not to require to be kept by men after their relationship has come to an end”. So would a cohabitation law ‘lsquo;retard the emancipation of women’ as Baroness Deech said in that lecture, or does it offer financial security for women in cohabiting relationships?  To discus the issues Jenni is joined by Baroness Deech and by Marilyn Stowe, a divorce lawyer based in Harrogate, who was on the committee that advised the Law Commission.