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The Law Commission's consultation paper Cohabitation: The Financial Consequences of Relationship Breakdown" was published on 31 May 2006. The Government asked the Law Commission to examine the options for reforming the law that applies to cohabiting couples on separation and death. The consultation paper invites the public's views on the difficult issues raised to assist in making recommendations to Parliament for reform.
The consultation paper rejects the view that cohabitants should have access to the financial regime that applies on divorce. Instead, it proposes a self-standing scheme of financial remedies for certain cohabitants on separation available only in strictly limited circumstances, focussing on the financial hardship suffered by cohabitants or their children on the termination of their relationship by separation or death. The following issues are highlighted:
The Law Commissioners will not consider:
Law Commissioners clearly believe that there should be some reform of the current law. They feel that there are strong arguments that reform should apply to cohabitants with children. Whether it should also apply to any cohabitants without children is a more difficult question, essentially of social policy on which they invite consultees' views.
A final report with recommendations for reform will be published in summer 2007. That report will not include a draft Bill. The scope of the project and further information (including details of how to respond to the consultation) are available from http://www.lawcom.gov.uk/cohabitation.htm. The consultation period runs from 31 May to 30 September 2006. Consultees must respond to the paper in the format given.
See July  Fam Law for the full news article.