Common Law Marriage does not exist in the UK. So if you think you are protected under law when you split up with a partner - think again!
Under current cohabitation law it's possible that a couple can live together for decades, yet should the relationship break down it is possible that one could walk away with no responsibility to the other. This is particularly detrimental to women as so often they have given up work to look after the household.
Cohabitee cases are often stalled at the start due cost of litigation and the nature of a relationship breakdown results in financial hardships. Solicitors are often reluctant to take on cohabitee cases due to the lack of case law to set a precedent. Therefore it is a catch 22 situation.
Cases cannot be taken to court due to the cost, but without cases setting precedents the law cannot be changed and political will cannot be engaged.
In 2015 the Cohabitation Rights Bill had its first reading in the house of Lords, under it rights would come into play when a couple had lived together continuously for three years, or who live together and have a child together. Those who did not want such rights would have to opt out.
This Bill had its first reading in the House of Lords, twice. Once in 2015 and once in 2016, but there are still no plans in place to take this bill further as there appears to be no strength of political will.
Couples living together without being married are the fastest growing famiy type in the UK. The Office for National Statistics suggest that the number of people who cohabit has doubled to approximately 3.3million since 1996. Despite this rapidly growing trend there are few provisions that legally protect these people in England and Wales.
The nature of relationships have changed over the years, but the law has not changed with it. We need to change the law now. Far too many men and women cannot afford to take their cases to court as their money is tied up in a property they lived in with a partner, but did not own. The cost of the case prohibits the case being brought. The law needs to change now!
The purpose of this crowd funding is to provide funds to take cohabitee cases to court, to enable women and men to actively seek legal redress for an inequitable situation
We are looking to bring a case to court in 2017, and to provide the funds to actively lobby lawmakers, the media, social groups and the government using the court case we are supporting to provide the much needed precedent for change in the law.