We are proud to support the work of Resolution’s Vision for Family Justice and their drive to improve the family justice system.
Currently, cohabiting couples have few or no rights in the event of a relationship breakdown. This means that, unlike married couples, there is no mechanism for splitting assets. This is despite a huge growth in the number of couples and families that cohabit rather than marry.
A nationwide poll carried out by Whitestone Insight on behalf of Resolution found around half of cohabitees are unaware that they lack rights should they split up.
Asked about their concerns in the event of a relationship ending, 35% said they feared having nowhere to live – if a property is in one partner’s name the other partner has no automatic claim on it in the event of a break up.
One in three said they feared significant financial hardship.
According to House of Commons Library research 1.5 million couples cohabited in 1996 but that figure increased by 144% over the following 25 years to 3.6 million in 2021. According to the recent Resolution polling 83% of respondents believe that cohabiting will become even more popular in future.
Resolution’s Vision for Family Justice mark’s this vital organisation’s 40 year anniversary. It sets out where changes need to be made to address the current issues facing the family justice system and suggests ways to make these changes.
The recommendations in the Vision are based on the views and experiences of over a thousand Resolution members taken from the multiple surveys, focus groups, and discussions they’ve had with the members of their specialist and regional committees.
During the consultation, most members identified cohabitation as the next priority area for reform. The other main priority was funding for early legal information and advice. These key issues will form the crux of Resolution’s campaigning activities over the coming months and years, with the rest of the Vision forming the building blocks for ongoing and future policy development.
As we’ve already reported, this week – the 27th November to the 1st December 2023 – is Resolution’s Awareness Week. The launch of their Vision for Justice will take spearhead a week in which all Resolution members are being encouraged to get involved by engaging with MPs, policymakers, and the public to raise awareness of the key issues, most notably the lack of rights afforded to cohabiting couples.
As a leading lobbyist and the recognised voice of the UK’s family justice system, Resolution will also be presenting their Vision for Justice to Parliament. We want to underline just how much we support their efforts and look forward to Parliament’s long overdue response and, we trust, immediate action.