The Law Commission today published a report proposing reform of the law affecting cohabiting couples property and finances when their relationship ends. The main thrust of the proposals is that couples without children who have been cohabiting for two years or more should be able to make a financial claim.
Nick Herbert, The Shadow Justice Secretary, has responded to the Law Commission’s proposals saying:
"We will consider these proposals carefully. However, they need to be tested against the key objectives of strengthening families and protecting children. Our concern is that creating new rights for cohabitants in an attempt to ensure fairness – ‘marriage lite’ – could undermine the institution which gives children the most stability.
"It must be possible for couples without children to remain financially independent, if that is what they choose, without complicated and expensive legal arrangements.
"The proposals raise fundamental questions about the correct legal framework to govern families and people living together. There needs to be a proper debate about these issues before the Government decides to introduce legislation."