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Top Judge Sir Nicholas Wall Calls For Unmarried Rights


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Unmarried couples should have rights to a share of property and money if they split up, the top family judge in England and Wales has said.

Sir Nicholas Wall, president of the Family Division of the High Court, told the Times that women tended to lose out under the current system.

This was because there was an absence of any law on dividing up the assets of couples who lived together, he said.

Sir Nicholas said judges should be able to decide on claims in such situations.

He said the courts would be more sympathetic to a claim for rights where a couple had lived together for a long time.

'Severely disadvantaged'

Sir Nicholas said: "I am in favour of cohabitees having rights because of the injustice of the present situation.

"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."

He added: "If cohabitation has been short and the contribution minimal, judges would not be sympathetic to a claim."

Sir Nicholas was giving his first national newspaper interview since becoming president of the Family Division last year.

In 2007 the Law Commission called for new legal rights for people living together in long-term relationships.

Sir Nicholas said he was "disappointed" the government had not acted to bring about the changes.

And the 65-year-old married father-of-four denied that the moves he was proposing may undermine the institution of marriage.

"Marriage undoubtedly remains the most stable relationship for bringing up children and for support," he said.

Edited by Ruffneck
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The problem with this is when and what, exactly, is the cut off? Or is it going to be a sliding scale?

Will you be entitled to 10% if you've slept at the other persons house? Will full sexual intercourse have to have taken place? How often and how recently?

Or is it when you have a toothbrush there?

If people want this protection, what the hell is wrong with even a civil marriage or that new thingy they've recently introduced? Surely one of those procedures is not too much to ask, after all, what is the point of them otherwise?

I'm 20 years married so, it's all pretty much not my concern. It's rare that I say this, but this really is political correctness gone mad. I'm shocked to see it from a tory government.

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I thought if you live together as a couple for a few years the law see's you as a 'Common Law' husband and wife?

Couples who co-habit do not automatically have any legal protection, regardless of the length of their relationship or whether they have children together. There is no such thing as a “common-law marriage” and, sadly, the discovery that the legal system is unable to offer any real help often comes too late for separating couples.
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I thought if you live together as a couple for a few years the law see's you as a 'Common Law' husband and wife?

I think that this is a bit of a myth.

The legal system has destroyed marriage. It's unfair and costly judgements are being rejected by the nation, people are avoiding the cost and the bad law by not getting married.

This is causing lawyers real financial hurt, so they want to remove your choice, and line their pockets. The vi here just stinks.

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I think that this is a bit of a myth.

The legal system has destroyed marriage. It's unfair and costly judgements are being rejected by the nation, people are avoiding the cost and the bad law by not getting married.

This is causing lawyers real financial hurt, so they want to remove your choice, and line their pockets. The vi here just stinks.

As men realise what a bad deal marriage is for the financially, less and less get married. This is an attempt to correct a problem caused by existing bad law.

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As men realise what a bad deal marriage is for the financially, less and less get married. This is an attempt to correct a problem caused by existing bad law.

The current right not to get married isnt the problem.

The choice whether to get married or not isnt the problem, more choice is always a good thing.

The current law and execution of it is the problem.

Removing your right to opt out by not getting married isnt a solution to the problem, but actually takes away the solution to the problem.

More money for lawyers via the removal of choice. That is all this is. Demanded by a crook, someone who should never preside on judgement upon others.

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Does marriage not fulfil all the necessary criteria?

If you're in a long-term 'stable' relationship and your partner refuses to marry you then **** 'em! they're clearly not commited.

Tosh. You can be utterly committed yet have ethical objections to the institution of marriage.

We need to divorce (sorry) the rights & responsibilities of a relationship (whatever they may be) from the religious and historical (not to mention ceremonial) baggage of marriage. Give marriage to the churches/etc where it belongs.

I never thought Stonewall's Peter Tatchell would speak for me. But he did exactly that on the introduction of Civil Partnerships, when he complained that they are discriminatory and pointed out that two wrongs don't make a right when confronted with the obvious but it's in your favour.

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"If you ain't got that ring, it don't mean a thing."

This judgement seems to cast women as prostitutes. Slept with him ten times? OK you can have 10% of his house!

I'd say if a couple have children together they can be deemed "married", otherwise not. Of course some "men" litter children all over the place - so they would be deemed married to lots of women at the same time?! :rolleyes:

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As men realise what a bad deal marriage is for the financially, less and less get married. This is an attempt to correct a problem caused by existing bad law.

It could swing the other way, with people refusing to have anything more than one night stands or ultra casual relationships....

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It could swing the other way, with people refusing to have anything more than one night stands or ultra casual relationships....

IMO thats what will happen. The feckless men who have nothing wont care as you cant get blood out of a stone. The 'quality' men will see this as an attack on their freedoms and rights, honker down and become more defensive. The reverse eugenics policy continues. We live in the age of idiocracy.

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Tosh. You can be utterly committed yet have ethical objections to the institution of marriage.

We need to divorce (sorry) the rights & responsibilities of a relationship (whatever they may be) from the religious and historical (not to mention ceremonial) baggage of marriage. Give marriage to the churches/etc where it belongs.

I never thought Stonewall's Peter Tatchell would speak for me. But he did exactly that on the introduction of Civil Partnerships, when he complained that they are discriminatory and pointed out that two wrongs don't make a right when confronted with the obvious but it's in your favour.

You wouldn't dream of entering into a mortgage or long term employment without a contract so why would you with a long term relationship? plus marriage doesnt have to be religious. I went to a wedding a couple of years ago in a castle that had no mention of any religion.

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My main objection would be to applying a retrospective assumption. Couples should be free to agree any division of the spoils they like, but it should be upfront, not five years later you are deemed to have been married for five years when you decide to break up.

If you don't have a formalised start to the relationship you can't have a formal ending. One partner could say, "we're 'divorced' I want my share", and the other could say no we're not we're just on a break, or we're not divorced because I never really loved you anyway and I've mainly been seeing the lady next door. ;)

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You wouldn't dream of entering into a mortgage or long term employment without a contract so why would you with a long term relationship? plus marriage doesnt have to be religious. I went to a wedding a couple of years ago in a castle that had no mention of any religion.

Cos you dont know if it is going to be long term. Even if you think it is, the gold digger your with might have other ideas. However, if your assets are protected, there is a better chance that you will meet someone who wants to be with you, rather than your money.

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My main objection would be to applying a retrospective assumption. Couples should be free to agree any division of the spoils they like, but it should be upfront, not five years later you are deemed to have been married for five years when you decide to break up.

If you don't have a formalised start to the relationship you can't have a formal ending. One partner could say, "we're 'divorced' I want my share", and the other could say no we're not we're just on a break, or we're not divorced because I never really loved you anyway and I've mainly been seeing the lady next door. ;)

I thought that you were allowed to set up contracts if you want, marriage is just a special one after all.

It is the default position here that is the important one. If there is no contract, then the law must allow any assets to remain under the same ownership.

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The problem is really the fact the solicitor/lawyer lobby groups want the government to set up some process whereby people have to pay them ( the solicitors ) to split up.

Solicitors/Lawyers are useless sneaky lying cheating middle men, they should be called Law Agents.

They are as bad for society as the bankers and the politicians.

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The problem is really the fact the solicitor/lawyer lobby groups want the government to set up some process whereby people have to pay them ( the solicitors ) to split up.

Solicitors/Lawyers are useless sneaky lying cheating middle men, they should be called Law Agents.

They are as bad for society as the bankers and the politicians.

I tend to agree with you, always someone waiting by the sidelines ready to make from someones misfortune.

How about a partnership will...like a living will.......more couples are financially independent in their own right...more relationships are not straight forward there maybe previous relationships and other children to consider........everyone should make a will.....when you enter into a relationship you should consider possible future outcomes...... and just because you are not married does not mean you are not committed to your partner.......some get married for money, some don't, some don't want to get married ;)

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I saw this and have to say I just don't get it... Why should I lose much of what I work for just for living with a girl for an extended period? Sure, she supports me with the odd night cooking, or the occasional ironed shirt. But then I make the tea, or mow the lawn, take out the rubbish. It's hardly a domestic servant situation or raising my children.

I can understand divorce settlements. I can understand child maintenance. But the logic here escapes me- cohabitation creates no promises nor any joint burden.

I'd be fascinated if there were any supporters of this idea, or perspectives from a woman's viewpoint. Can anyone link to a lobby group or a paper even offside supporting this idea and explaining it? I find it hard to believe it's just lawyers wanting to legalise human relationships.

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The problem with this is when and what, exactly, is the cut off? Or is it going to be a sliding scale?

Will you be entitled to 10% if you've slept at the other persons house? Will full sexual intercourse have to have taken place? How often and how recently?

Or is it when you have a toothbrush there?

If people want this protection, what the hell is wrong with even a civil marriage or that new thingy they've recently introduced? Surely one of those procedures is not too much to ask, after all, what is the point of them otherwise?

If you are not of the same sex there is no new thingy that they have introduced.

tim

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