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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

17 APR 2007

Commissioners, Cohabitants and Contracts

Professor Chris Barton, Retired Family Law Teacher and a Vice-President, Family Mediators Association. Cohabitation contracts are becoming increasingly common and practitioners report a greater demand from couples for such 'damage limitation tools' to govern division of assets on separation without resorting to litigation. Despite recommendations from practitioners, however, it is only a very few cohabitants who actually enter into contracts. The Law Commission Consultation Paper No 179 Cohabitation: The Financial Consequences of Relationship Breakdown (2006) recommended this type of self regulation and made proposals for cohabitation contracts. This article considers the Consultation Paper's findings and proposals, the future of cohabitation contracts and the barriers to making them, and the perceptions of cohabitation as an acceptable alternative to marriage. It also envisages contracts for the day to day operation of family life. For the full article see May [2007] Fam Law.

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