Top judge calls for new legal rights for cohabitees

Unmarried couples should have the right to a share of property and money if they separate, the leading family judge in England and Wales has told The Times.

Unmarried couples should have the right to a share of property and money if they separate, the leading family judge in England and Wales has told The Times.

Sir Nicholas Wall, president of the Family Division of the High Court, said the lack of any legislation on dividing up the assets of people who cohabit meant women often lost out. 

He thinks judges should decide on claims and would be more sympathetic to couples who had cohabited for longer.

He said: "Women cohabitees, in particular, are severely disadvantaged by being unable to claim maintenance and having their property rights determined by the conventional laws of trusts."

The Law Commission has called for some years for new legislation for cohabiting couples and Sir Nicholas, who was appointed president last year, said he was "disappointed" there had been no government action on this.





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