How far should family law reflect modern family life? The case of cohabitation, equal civil partnerships and the common law marriage myth – Transparency Project

Posted March 27th, 2019 in bills, civil partnerships, cohabitation, equality, families, marriage, news, statistics by sally

‘There is no longer just one way of ‘doing’ family in modern Britain. With much greater gender equality and social acceptance of different family forms, how we organise family life and our personal relationships has changed considerably in recent times. In some ways, the law in England and Wales has kept pace with change – same-sex civil partnerships in 2004 and same-sex marriage in 2013 are shining examples of progressive legislative landmarks. Yet we have witnessed clear policy reluctance to offer legal protection to opposite-sex couples who reject marriage, despite Law Commission recommendations in 2007 and despite many other countries including Scotland, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand having reformed their cohabitation law.’

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Transparency Project, 26th March 2019

Source: www.transparencyproject.org.uk

Midwife wins legal battle with CEO ex over £1m home after he promised her half of property in pub – Daily Telegraph

Posted March 15th, 2019 in cohabitation, families, financial dispute resolution, midwives, news by sally

‘A midwife has beaten her CEO ex-partner in a legal battle over their £1 million home, after a High Court judge agreed he promised her half the property during a conversation in the pub 13 years ago.’

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Daily Telegraph, 14th March 2019

Source: www.telegraph.co.uk

Spousal maintenance orders: a meal ticket for life? – Family Law

Posted February 25th, 2019 in appeals, bills, children, cohabitation, divorce, families, financial provision, news, Supreme Court by tracey

‘According to Sara Hunt, a knowledge lawyer at Farrer & co, the recent decision of the Supreme Court in Mills v Mills has highlighted the current debate regarding spousal maintenance in England and Wales. Press headlines have focused on the apparent “meal ticket for life” that such orders are said to provide.’

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Family Law, 25th February 2019

Source: www.familylaw.co.uk

Blog: Divorce and the Muslim community – Family Law

‘Solicitor advocate and law writer David Burrows writes that to define a valid marriage in English law is by no means obvious.’

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Family Law, 7th February 2019

Source: www.familylaw.co.uk

Case Comment: In the matter of an application by Siobhan McLaughlin for Judicial Review (Northern Ireland) [2018] UKSC 48 – UKSC Blog

‘It may seem somewhat Dickensian that an unmarried parent would be ineligible for social benefits as a widow/er upon the death of their partner and co-parent, but that was the situation created by the legislation challenged in Re Siobhan McLaughlin for Judicial Review (Northern Ireland) [2018] UKSC 48 (Lady Hale, Lord Mance, Lord Kerr, Lord Hodge and Lady Black). The issue under scrutiny was entitlement to widowed parent’s entitlement (WPA). WPA is a contributory social security benefit payable to parents of dependent children who are widowed; but, at the time of the claim, a widowed parent was only eligible for WPA if at the time of the death, s/he was married to, or the civil partner of, the deceased [para 1 of the judgment]. The appellant, who had four dependent children with her deceased partner, but had never married him, argued that this requirement discriminated against the survivor and/or the children on the basis of their marital or birth status, contrary to ECHR, art 14. The Supreme Court allowed the appeal majority of 4 to 1 (Lord Hodge dissenting) and made a declaration that s 39A is incompatible with ECHR, art 14 read with art 8, insofar as it precludes any entitlement to WPA by a surviving unmarried partner of the deceased.’

Proposed legislation to create heterosexual civil partnerships will still not create a “common law” marriage – Family Law

‘In June 2018 the Supreme Court ruled in favour of a heterosexual couple who had argued that their inability to formalise their relationship through a civil partnership was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. The Prime Minister indicated in October that she would legislate to give all couples the same choices as to how to achieve legal recognition of their relationship for the first time, writes Ashford’s family solicitor Emma Mackay.’

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Family Law, 22nd November 2018

Source: www.familylaw.co.uk

Relationships as seen in the eyes of the law – Family Law

‘Relationships have been in the news in 2018. Not only did we see two Royal weddings, but at the opposite end of the romance spectrum, in June the UK Supreme Court ruled that it was discriminatory not to allow opposite-sex couples to form civil partnerships. Dianne Millen, an associate at Morton Fraser in Edinburgh, looks at relationships as seen in the eyes of the law.’

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Family Law, 13th November 2018

Source: www.familylaw.co.uk

Unmarried couples’ entitlements and cohabitation agreements – Family Law

Posted October 31st, 2018 in children, cohabitation, contracts, financial provision, news by sally

‘The number of cohabitating families has increased by almost 30% in the last decade, which has led to a rise in complex legal disputes after a break-up. It is a common misconception that cohabitants possess the same legal rights and obligations as a married couple or a civil partnership. There is no such thing as a “common law” husband or wife in the eyes of the Court and therefore it is important that cohabitants are aware of their rights, according to Danielle Bentley, a solicitor at Herrington & Carmichael LLP.’

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Family Law, 29th October 2018

Source: www.familylaw.co.uk

Opinion: Let’s end the civil partnership ban on these devoted, long-term, cohabiting people – Family Law

Posted October 29th, 2018 in bills, civil partnerships, cohabitation, news by sally

‘Tomorrow [26 October], Tim Loughton will seek, through an amendment to his private members’ bill, to speed through legislation to allow mixed sex couples who disapprove of marriage to register as civil partners instead. Gay couples already have the option of marriage or civil partnership; for straight couples, it’s marriage or nothing, writes Catherine Utley, a former Senior Broadcast Journalist at BBC World Service News.’

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Family Law, 25th October 2018

Source: www.familylaw.co.uk

The inheritance tax burden and civil partnerships for cohabiting siblings: right idea, wrong approach? – Family Law

‘Family Law in Partnership director David Allison and associate Carla Ditz re-examine how and why civil partnerships came into being, the successful campaign to allow heterosexual couples to enter into a civil partnership and the proposals for 2committed siblings” to be able to form civil partnerships.’

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Family Law, 24th October 2018

Source: www.familylaw.co.uk

Reflections on the state of family law – Family Law

‘This year has seen momentum grow towards family law reform following a series of landmark Supreme Court decisions. Until now, this has not prompted the government to change the law, with ministers instead opting to take soundings.’

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Family Law, 5th October 2018

Source: www.familylaw.co.uk

Government announces civil partnerships for mixed-sex couples – Family Law

‘The Government has announced its intention to introduce civil partnerships for heterosexual couples in England and Wales as an alternative to getting married, saying that the move will provide greater security for unmarried couples and their families.’

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Family Law, 2nd October 2018

Source: www.familylaw.co.uk

Bereaved mother entitled to widow allowance – Supreme Court – UK Human Rights Blog

Posted September 5th, 2018 in appeals, cohabitation, human rights, news, social security, Supreme Court, widows by sally

‘An unmarried mother has won a landmark Supreme Court case which could allow cohabitees to claim Widowed Parent’s Allowance, a benefit previously only applicable to married parents.’

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UK Human Rights Blog, 31st August 2018

Source: ukhumanrightsblog.com

Reflections on family law: What is ‘family’? – Family Law

Posted August 21st, 2018 in cohabitation, families, news, parental responsibility by sally

‘Reflections on family law can occur in the most unusual of places. After a recent delayed flight from London to Chicago (taken by Michael), a couple were asked at customs whether they were family. Both gave conflicting answers: she said yes, and he said no! Over the jet-lagged fueled bickering, it got Michael thinking about how the concept or term ‘family’ can mean different things to different people. It turned out this couple were living together as boyfriend and girlfriend but their difference of opinion on whether they were family members recalled the recent lecture given by the former President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby.’

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Family Law, 17th August 2018

Source: www.familylaw.co.uk

Rise in deathbed weddings prompts call to protect cohabiting couples – The Guardian

Posted August 20th, 2018 in civil partnerships, cohabitation, marriage, news by sally

‘The government is being urged to provide legal protection to millions of cohabiting couples as evidence emerges of an increase in the number of civil partnerships and deathbed weddings.’

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The Guardian, 18th August 2018

Source: www.theguardian.com

Rise of middle-aged cohabitants driven by men’s fear of divorce settlements – Daily Telegraph

Posted July 30th, 2018 in cohabitation, divorce, news by sally

‘Men fearing losing half their assets in divorce means there are growing numbers of cohabiting middle-aged couples, lawyers say.’

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Daily Telegraph, 27th July 2018

Source: www.telegraph.co.uk

Cohabitees’ inheritance rights – courts will decide each case on its facts – Family Law

Posted May 4th, 2018 in cohabitation, intestacy, news, Supreme Court by tracey

‘Private Client analysis: In Thompson v Ragget and others [2018] EWHC 688 (Ch), [2018] All ER (D) 18 (Apr), the claimant claimed reasonable financial provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 out of the estate of her late partner, who had left her nothing. Paul King, CEO and head of legal practice, and Jen Wiss-Carline, chartered legal executive at April King Legal, comment on the case.’

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Family Law, 3rd May 2018

Source: www.familylaw.co.uk

Cohabitant entitled to slice of partner’s £1.5m estate, judge rules – Law Society’s Gazette

Posted April 9th, 2018 in cohabitation, news, wills by tracey

‘The High Court has ruled in favour of a woman who received nothing from her late partner’s £1.5 million estate, in a judgment that will again spark debate about the law on inheritance.’

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Law Society's Gazette, 6th April 2018

Source: www.lawgazette.co.uk

The perils of an outdated will – Family Law

Posted February 1st, 2018 in appeals, cohabitation, financial provision, news, wills by tracey

‘The case of Martin v Williams [2017] EWHC 491 (Ch), [2018] 1 FLR 125 concerned the right of a cohabitee to make a claim for financial provision from her partner’s estate. It serves as a useful reminder of the problems that can arise when a testator fails to update his or her will following a change in circumstances.’

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Family Law, 30th January 2018

Source: www.familylaw.co.uk

‘Someone has to make a stand’: widow’s battle for cohabiting couples – The Guardian

‘Siobhan McLaughlin’s case goes before supreme court as pressure grows to end legal inequality.’

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The Guardian, 27th January 2018

Source: www.theguardian.com