Co-Habiting Law 'Taking Away Choice'

The Birmingham Post (England), May 20, 2009 | Go to article overview

Co-Habiting Law 'Taking Away Choice'


Byline: ALUN THORNE

A family solicitor from Leamington has attacked the "nanny state" for what he deems interfering in the lives of cohabiting couples.

Andrew Brooks, who heads the family law department at Blythe Liggins Solicitors, said that under radical new proposals, couples who had lived together for more than two years would automatically find themselves forced to divide finances and property should the relationship falter.

Mr Brooks said that the courts could intervene in the parties' financial and property matters despite the couple choosing not to make a commitment to each other through marriage or a civil partnership.

He said: "In the past, couples have happily lived together, not marrying because they have chosen to avoid the long-term financial commitment - and the intervention of the court in their private financial lives." "However, if the new law is passed this will no longer be an option and the state, through the arm of the court, will be able to intervene in the financial destiny of both parties." "In theory, cohabiting couples should have rights, but I believe this must be a matter of choice and not something to be forced upon couples who have chosen not to make a formal commitment for whatever reason," Mr Brooks continued.

According to the latest survey by the Office for National Statistics, there were 237,000 marriages in England and Wales - the lowest number recorded since 1895.

The average age that people get married for the first time in the UK is currently nearly 30 for women and about 32 for men. …

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