09th Jul 2021

The Rights of Cohabiting Couples – FLiP responds to Consultation

The Rights of Cohabiting Couples – FLiP responds to Consultation


The Women and Equalities Committee recently launched a consultation into the rights of cohabiting partners to which the team at FLiP has responded.

Since the Law Commission published its Report ‘Cohabitation: The Financial Consequences of Relationship Breakdown’ in July 2007, the number of cohabiting couples has continued to increase and that figure has now reached 3.5m. Indeed, it seems on track to exceed the prediction in the Report of 3.8m by 2031. Also, as the Report predicted, the number of married and civil partnered couples has decreased (from 68% in 2009 to 66.8% in 2019).

In responding to the Committee’s consultation, FLiP acknowledges that the legal framework that applies on the breakdown of a cohabiting relationship is made up of a complex patchwork of legislation. Although a legal remedy may be available under the ToLaTA legislation, it is notable that there are relatively few claims. Similarly, under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989 the percentage of claimants when compared with the number of single parents indicates a disparity between those in need and those who are accessing justice.

There is also concern about the provision available through the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) and it is welcome that the Government has launched a consultation on the CMS. The responses to that consultation will provide further important information.

We await the outcome of the consultation into the rights of cohabiting partners with interest. With thanks to Kara Swift, David Allison and Victoria Nottage of FLiP for their work in preparing our detailed response to the consultation.

Should you find yourself in the difficult position of being separated and still living together and needing advice on where you stand, our talented team of lawyers, mediators and arbitrators are able to offer swift support and advice. Contact us at E: hello@flip.co.uk or T: 020 7420 5000.