Cohabiting relationships, money and property: the legal backdrop
Journal of socio-economics
Unlike most European jurisdictions where the law imposes a system of ‘community of property’, in English law marrying or entering a civil partnership has no legal effect on a couple's property. Neither does cohabitation. However, on relationship breakdown family law provides for redistribution of income and assets between the parties for those divorcing or dissolving their civil partnership at the court's discretion. Yet for separating cohabiting couples, a more rigid property law determines the outcome irrespective of the couple's financial practices during the relationship. At a time when there is a call for greater harmonisation of Family Law within Europe, the English Law Commission are considering reform of the law relating to financial provision for cohabiting couples. Drawing on empirical research into attitudes towards community of property, this article considers how far the current legal treatment of money and relationships remains appropriate to 21st century coupledom.
Author version deposited in accordance with Publisher self archiving policy. The definitive published version is available from Elsevier doi:10.1016/j.socec.2006.12.037
Vol. 37, Issue 2, pp. 502 - 518