By Anne Barlow, Simon Duncan, Grace James, Alison Parks
Single heterosexual cohabitation is speedily expanding in Britain and over 1 / 4 of youngsters at the moment are born to single cohabiting mom and dad. this isn't simply a tremendous swap within the method 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 relations, whereas others see it as only a much less institutionalized means within which humans show dedication and construct their households. Politically, 'stable' households are obvious as crucial—but does balance easily suggest marriage? at the moment the legislation 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 kids and companions on cohabitation breakdown or the dying of a associate. may still the legislation be replaced to mirror this altering social fact? Or should 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 fable' (the fake trust that cohabitants have related 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 felony switch. within the mild of this proof, Cohabitation, Marriage and the legislation then evaluates diverse strategies for criminal reform.
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Additional info for Cohabitation, Marriage and the Law: Social Change and Legal Reform in the 21st Century
Tony and his ex-partner (and mother of his two children) had separated, but they did not want to involve solicitors in order, as he viewed it, to help keep their separation as amicable as possible: Well my split up is different from the average couple because we haven’t got so bitter or into warfare or anything. We’ve always had an honest relationship—we’ve always been sensible enough—we’re not going to cut the other person out or destroy the other person’s life. There’s only one person who wins then, that’s the lawyers.
For example, 24 year old Patricia’s legal understanding was based, in her words, on ‘something that I feel should be’, and hence she thought that cohabitants gained legal rights on a par with married couples after five years of living together. On the other hand, Craig, a 57 year old cohabitant of six years, believed that on the whole cohabitants have fewer rights than married couples. This was based on his beliefs of what he saw as the ‘logical’ situation, claiming that any other outcome would be ‘totally illogical’.
It’s as you get older you learn more about what things mean but I do class myself as a common-law wife. I don’t use it to other people like ‘Oh I’m a common-law wife’, I call him my partner … Sally, who was single at the time of the interview but who had been in a shortterm cohabiting relationship in the past, was a ‘non-believer’ and was therefore generally aware that there is a difference in the general treatment of married and unmarried. She also mainly obtained her information from talking to friends.