Cohabiting Partners is the fastest growing type of family in England and Wales. However, at present such relationships do not convey any particular legal protections from one partner to the other, despite the widespread and persistent misconception that cohabiting partners are recognised in law in the same way as married individuals and civil partners.

Women and Equalities Committee (WEC), which examines the work of the government Equalities Office, and holds the government to account on equality law and policy, launched an inquiry into the rights of cohabiting partners on 28 April 2021 to look into the potential rights and protections that may be introduced for cohabiting partners.

The WEC is seeking written submissions from individuals, legal practitioners and organisations considering the following key issues:

Whether cohabiting partners should have the same rights as married individuals or civil partners.

How “cohabitation” should be legally defined.

What legislative changes are required to better protect the rights of cohabiting partners in the event of death or separation.

Any issues of inequality that should be addressed given the lack of legal protection for those in cohabiting relationships.

Whether legal changes should be made to better provide for the children of cohabiting partners.

If you have thoughts regarding the above, please send your written submissions to the WEC by Monday 5 July 2021 using the committee’s online portal: The Rights of Cohabiting Partners – Committees – UK Parliament

If you are in a cohabiting relationship and would like to discuss how you can protect your partner and your children in the event of separation please do not hesitate to contact a member of our Family team or our Private Client team on or 01753 889995.

Related Services

Related Team Specialists

Speak to an expert

Or send us an email