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 quickly expanding in Britain and over 1 / 4 of youngsters are actually born to single cohabiting mom and dad. this isn't simply an immense switch within the means humans reside in smooth Britain; it's also a political and theoretical marker. a few commentators see cohabitation as facts of egocentric individualism and the breakdown of the kin, whereas others see it as only a much less institutionalized method during which humans show dedication and construct their households. Politically, 'stable' households are visible as crucial—but does balance easily suggest marriage? at the present the legislations in Britain keeps very important differences within the approach it treats cohabiting and married households and this may have deleterious results at the welfare of youngsters and companions on cohabitation breakdown or the demise of a associate. should still the legislation be replaced to mirror this altering social fact? Or may still it—can it—be used to direct those adjustments? utilizing findings which mix nationally consultant facts with in-depth qualitative paintings, the authors research 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 fantasy' (the fake trust that cohabitants have related criminal 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 switch. within the mild of this facts, Cohabitation, Marriage and the legislation then evaluates diversified suggestions for criminal reform.

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Extra info for Cohabitation, Marriage and the Law: Social Change and Legal Reform in the 21st Century

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So did Angela, a 37 year old Store Manager from Birmingham, who’d been living with her partner (and their son) for 13 years at the time of interview. She believed that the law protects her in the same way as it protects married couples—as she put it: Oh yes definitely, the same yes … if it did go wrong I know that half of everything is mine and half my partner’s. Oh yes, you’ve got the same legal rights. The Nature of the Common Law Marriage Myth 31 On the other hand ‘non-believers’ came from equally diverse backgrounds.

This distinction between toleration and acceptance is important. Toleration, as Zygmunt Bauman (1991: 8) describes, is partly a way of ‘reaffirming the other’s 26 Changing Attitudes and Behaviour inferiority’ or, as Medus (1989: 149) states, implying ‘that the thing tolerated is morally reprehensible’. Thus, if the British population were merely tolerating cohabitation, they would, in effect, be reaffirming the superiority of the institution of marriage. This distinction is important because it impacts on how, and whether, the law should be reformed to better reflect people’s attitudes (see chapters 5 and 6).

Maintenance Post-Separation Ex-cohabiting couples cannot claim for maintenance post-separation in the same way as separated spouses. In order to investigate people’s awareness of this different legal treatment, respondents in the national survey were asked to consider the following scenario: I’d now like you to imagine an unmarried couple with no children who have been living together for ten years. Say their relationship ends. Do you think the woman … does in fact have the same rights as a married woman to claim financial support from the man, or does she have fewer rights?

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