Cohabitation, Marriage and the Law: Social Change and Legal by Anne Barlow, Simon Duncan, Grace James, Alison Parks

By Anne Barlow, Simon Duncan, Grace James, Alison Parks

Single heterosexual cohabitation is swiftly expanding in Britain and over 1 / 4 of kids at the moment are born to single cohabiting mom and dad. this isn't simply an immense switch within the method humans stay in sleek Britain; it's also a political and theoretical marker. a few commentators see cohabitation as facts of egocentric individualism and the breakdown of the relations, whereas others see it as only a much less institutionalized method during which humans show dedication and construct their households. Politically, 'stable' households are noticeable as crucial—but does balance easily suggest marriage? at this time the legislation in Britain keeps vital differences within the method it treats cohabiting and married households and this may have deleterious results at the welfare of youngsters and companions on cohabitation breakdown or the loss of life of a companion. should still the legislation be replaced to mirror this altering social truth? Or may still it—can it—be used to direct those alterations? utilizing findings which mix nationally consultant info with in-depth qualitative paintings, the authors study public attitudes approximately cohabitation and marriage, offer an research of who cohabits and who marries, and examine the level and nature of the 'common legislation marriage fable' (the fake trust that cohabitants have comparable felony rights to married couples). They then discover why humans cohabit instead of marry, what the character in their dedication is to each other and chart public attitudes to criminal swap. within the gentle of this facts, Cohabitation, Marriage and the legislations then evaluates varied thoughts for criminal reform.

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But this legal exception creates all the more confusion. We might also note the fact that where the economic interests of the state are concerned, legal reform to equate cohabiting and married couples has taken place— strange how similar reforms are seen as less possible or desirable when it is the economic interests of weaker family members, usually mothers and children, which are at stake. Pensions Cohabitants are treated differently from married couples in relation to state pension entitlement (see Barlow, 2001).

I know I’m classed as a common-law wife but I haven’t got the same rights as a married lady. This suggests that self-labelling does not necessarily reflect a person’s legal knowledge, and points to the existence of common law marriage as ‘lived law’ in a social world outside formal law. In 2000, a majority of the British public believed that married and unmarried couples have the same legal rights and responsibilities, and this belief was pervasive among all social groups and geographical areas.

Acquiring Information about Common Law Marriage 43 What an individual believes about common law marriage seems to depend largely upon the knowledge in their particular social network, rather than more formal sources of information. Indicatively, any professional legal advice was mostly relayed through these informal networks of family and friends who were lawyers or otherwise professionally engaged, rather than formally. Thus Mary found out about the importance of making a will when you are not married from an exboyfriend who was a solicitor.

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