Cohabiting partners are the fastest growing household structure in the UK and yet they are one of least legally protected.

In data published by the Office of National Statistics today, it showed that the greatest increase was for single family households with a cohabiting couple a household type that increased by 56.1% across the past decade, from 115,000 (0.5%) in 2011 to 180,000 (0.7%) in 2021.

It is therefore disappointing to hear that the Government have rejected call to reform law for cohabiting couples. Read the announcement here.

It would be fair to say that currently the law in the UK does not properly reflect the society in which we live nor does it provide adequate protection for those who find themselves in a situation where they have separated from a partner, to whom they are not married. This situation is far from uncommon especially given the rise in the number of cohabiting couples in the UK at the moment and the anticipated rise in the future.

Reforming the law for couples who live together is long overdue and it is shocking to see the Government has this week closed off the possibility of better legal protections for cohabiting partners for the foreseeable future

It was hoped that by taking this step to reform, we would have a family legal system fit for the 21st Century and reflective of the society we live in and therefore extremely disappointing to hear the Government has made this recent decision. The urgency of change cannot be underestimated.