unmarried separation law

Legislation To Protect Separating UK Unmarried Couples Overdue

According to the Office Of National Statistics, unmarried couples and families living together are the fastest growing cohabitants in the United Kingdom. As of 2016, there are approximately 3.3 million cohabiting families and the number has doubled since the statistics taken 1996 at 1.5 million.

Legislation for the protection of  unmarried couples and families is well overdue.  Lawyers have been arguing this issue for well over 10 years.  This includes the rights and responsibilities of unmarried couples upon separation and should be addressed as soon as possible.

A recent survey by the Family Lawyers Organisation of its members revealed that 88% of cohabiting couples believe they have legal protection.  It has also shown that 98% mistakenly believed they have the same rights as married couples.

Due to the statistics from surveys, it is believed that legislation for unmarried couples has not provided proper legal protection.  Back in 2007, the Law Commission recommended a plan that would be a contribution-based financial award for separating couples who had a child together and lived together for a certain period of time.  Couples in the plan also had the option to back out if they chose to.

In 2011, the government announced they would not move forward with these proposals.  Even though the commission called on the next government to move forward and not delay, there was a lack of interest or political will.  In light of more pressing issues of national interest, there have been no changes.

Nigel Shepherd, chair of Resolution and head of family law at Mills & Reeve, told Solicitors Journal that his organisation envisions a law where unmarried couples could meet the criteria, through a committed relationship, allowing them the right to apply for certain financial orders upon separation.

This right would kick in automatically unless the couple chose to back out.  The court would be able to make the same orders as they do for divorced couples but on a limited basis.  These benefits could include payments for child care which would allow the caregiver the ability to work.

According to Julia Thackray, former head of the family team at Penningtons and programme leader at Central Law Training, believes reforms are well overdue.  She went on to point out, with the increasing number of couples living together, it is even more critical that the government gets back to the issue of cohabitation and financial protection for these people.  This issue should not be a carbon copy of divorce but should offer some level of protection and as a safety net where  otherwise real needs will not be met.

Unfortunately, there are many cases where people are extremely vulnerable, they have children, cannot work or only work part-time, and this contributes to more family financial concerns.  They have to compromise their earning abilities and limited housing options and there is absolutely nothing they can do about it.  In other situations where couples do not have children but have other expenses, they are not allowed to make a property claim.  Due to other expenses, it may allow the property owner to pay off more on their mortgage so they can have an advantage later on.

In June of 2015, Lord Marks introduced the Cohabitation Rights Bill to address this huge vacuum in the law.  This bill would provide basic protections for unmarried couples and a provision for their property upon one partner’s death.  Under the bill, the court would be able to make a financial settlement order where there is a “retained benefit” or “economic disadvantage” dependent. This would allow for “qualifying contributions” be made for either financial or other reasons.

Before an order can be presented, the court must deem whether it is fair when addressing any “discretionary factors” which would include the earning capabilities of both parties and the welfare of a child.  Couples would also have protection upon a death instead of just separation and this is a very important point.

Lord Marks’ bill also has safeguards in place that would provide protection for insurable interests in lives, being intestate upon death, and rights related to their home.  It also provides for the possibility for a claim against a partner’s estate upon death.

Lord Marks will take part in an upcoming debate to support extending the legal rights of those who choose not to marry.  Those advocating reform will want to stay up on the progress being made by the bill in the House of Lords.  Without a specific date for the second reading of his bill, no one is any closer in guaranteeing cohabitation laws will meet the demands of the 21st century than the Law Commission was 10 years ago.

Unmarried couples should have the same protections and rights as those who are married.  With the growing number of people are choosing to live together vs marrying, the government must address these concerns in a timely manner.

divorce uk

Divorce Laws in the UK

In Europe, you would find that the judicial system varies from country to country. In the UK, for instance, the ‘English law’ applies, while North Ireland has its own legal system that is mostly identical to English family laws with minor changes, if any.

Then you have Scotland’s legal system, which firstly is in a wholly separate jurisdiction and has a different court-structure. The only similarity would be that both share a magnificent Supreme Court, situated in Parliament Square. The laws themselves are quite contrasting. 

Scotland’s laws don’t offer the same provisions that the UK does to couples. In fact, as per the sound cohabitation law, couples don’t get the same rights as married couples. There is, however, scope for dispute resolution even for cohabiting couples.

Even when it comes to married couples, the divorce proceedings, financial settlements and general laws governing divorce are markedly different when compared to that of England’s. Scotland is a bit more conservative when it comes to divorce laws, and the two systems are so different that where the ruling is in favor of the husband in one system, in the same situation, the ruling would perhaps be in favor of the wife in any other system. Lets take the case of a non-working woman married to a wealthy man. This woman has got a sizable inheritance over the course of their marriage.

If a divorce is to occur, then the woman would be at a huge financial disadvantage after the ruling in Scotland, where the ruling will be in favor of the husband. On the other hand, England’s laws provide the woman a monetary settlement that covers her basic needs so that she can meet her needs in full without much effort. By contrast, Scotland merely offers half of their shared assets and three years’ maintenance. The assets her husband owned prior to marriage are out of the scope of Scotland’s divorce laws. 

Now in the instance where there is a dispute between Scotland and the UK, where each party wishes to conduct the proceedings in a different jurisdiction, then the divorce proceedings will be held in the country where the parties had their most recent matrimonial home.

England and Wales are considered to be in the same jurisdiction, so if the matrimonial home is in England or Wales, but the wealthier party chose to hold the proceedings in Scotland, then the decision of Scotland’s court could be contested and the petition would be stayed.

Scotland’s laws require strict time-limits regarding the divorce-petition application or agreement between parties, whereas the UK  is more liberal when it comes to this. England requires financial disclosure before any kind of financial settlement, whereas Scotland does not require it.

Scotland and England are quite different when it comes to their laws, so choosing to hold your divorce proceedings in either jurisdiction could have an effect on the final ruling, so you should consult your family lawyer as soon as possible regarding the same.

For more information and help with Divorce:


accident solicitors

If found in an accident, where do you seek help?

Who will be the one that plays the main role in assisting you in recovering from your accident?

A lot of individuals when asked this question would say the doctor or hospital, however, not many people think about how important the role of an accident attorney is. Even so, an accident claim lawyer will be the one that will either make sure that you get the compensation you deserve or be the one that will be unsuccessful in getting you what you need.

Just imagine. You’ve experienced accidental injuries. You would like to recover physically. In addition, you have to recover financially. You are going to need to restore your life following the accident and return to normal. By taking your accident claim lightly, and do not think thoroughly about your decision of a car accident settlement attorney, returning to normal could be tougher than you think.

Your Emotions
Whenever you experience an injury, it has an effect on your capability to work and your lifestyle. Even a small accident or injury may have an effect a lot more than you could possibly imagine. Following the accident, you look for the assistance of an accident claim expert and you believe everything is taken care of. You’ll be paid out reasonably. The settlement fees won’t make up for the injury you encountered from the accident, but at least you’ll obtain the accident pay out you are entitled to.

What takes place when you don’t obtain the compensation you ought to get and require? What occurs when your accident claim doesn’t happen, or if you lose the majority of your compensation to hidden costs you weren’t planning on?
Everything is determined by the accident claim expert you choose.

Mutual Feelings
Following an accident, you do not even consider putting in an effort to find the best attorney. The chances are that this is your first time that you had to go through an accident claim process, this is certainly not something that you had given much thought of to before. This is why you will have to proceed through the motions, believing all that’s necessary is an attorney to assist you to submit your claim.  You do not even have time to think about if the attorney is qualified to handle your claim. Besides a compensation claim is clear-cut and ought to take care of itself. You will get your compensation. The legal representative is merely there to handle the paperwork on your behalf.

Many times, accident sufferers don’t get the compensation they deserve. Their claim is not addressed properly and all of a sudden they are left without payment, without employment, without the bright future they worked so desperately to accomplish prior to the accident. Simply because they had chosen the wrong attorney; since they believed it didn’t make a difference which one they decide on – they believed they’re all the same.

Selection Procedure
Deciding upon an accident compensation lawyer is among the most crucial choices you’ll make after an accident. It’s not only reliant on submitting an accident claim. You require one that knows precisely how to handle it and the best way to achieve it. A lot of attorneys don’t understand how to get the work done effectively. Therefore, a claim that must be dealt with quickly, usually entirely run off track.

There are many people that will look at you, the accident sufferer, being a way to obtain money. They may be qualified in working with your accident claim and receiving payment for you. However, they take an enormous amount of your settlement using hidden fees they by no means mentioned to you in advance. Due to the fact that you already finalized the papers – absolutely not aware of what you were putting your signature on – you’re bound to this problem. And there goes your accident compensation.

Look at Your Choices
Make sure you put just as much thought into choosing your attorney the same as you do with all important choices in your life. Your attorney is the key to a successful future. It indicates the main difference between returning to your normal life, or losing everything that you had put in hard work to accomplish- all as a consequence of an accident, furthermore, as you weren’t cautious in selecting the best lawyer to take care of your accident claim.

It’s simple to determine why you wouldn’t think thoroughly regarding your decision. In the end, it’s not at all your fault you had been in an accident, and the worst thing you may need is one more headache. You simply would like to submit your claim and move forward. You do not have the energy to waste time on carefully selecting a lawyer. You would like to go forward and obtain your compensation.

However, if you simply don’t use care when selecting the lawyer who will manage your case, you’re going to be experiencing much more serious headaches forever.

Background Search
Whenever you select an accident attorney to deal with your case…
•    Look at their qualified history
•    Are their qualifications confirmed?
•    Have their cases been effective?
•     Will the track record illustrate that the attorney understands how to judge the credibility of an accident claim?
•    Does their qualified background illustrate determination, willpower to engage in each claim to an effective conclusion?

Your next step will be to interview the accident attorney. Make inquiries. You are employing them to perform a job to suit your needs. You are in charge! Your future is on the line – your trauma compensation, your restoration. In the same way you would only want the best qualified and serious individual on your side to grow your business; you would like the same with something even more valuable – restoring your life following the accident.

You would like to seek the services of an expert who is going to be persistent with their work; a person who understands which actions to take to manage your case professionally and get you the compensation you are eligible for; a person who provides a unique service, who can consider your claim to be important as though it was their own. An expert who without a doubt has a strategy and all set to start actively looking for a settlement for you. Focus on how your case is being talked over with you.

Although it appears the inexperienced accident attorneys surpass the experienced ones, it is possible to still obtain the top legal representative to manage your case. However, you won’t obtain the best lawyer when you don’t search, ask and when you don’t be careful in choosing them.