Sir James Mumby has raised again concerns of the judiciary regarding cohabitees. Sir James Mumby is quoted as stating that unmarried women who live with their partners are “thrown on the scrapheap” without financial help if the relationship ends.
There has been a long standing myth that there is a common law marriage i.e. when two people live together as man and wife but this does not exist. Many people do not realise that there is an extremely different set of rules that apply to cohabitees rather than married couples. There is little protection for cohabitees and often, this can be particularly damning for women if they are homemakers.
Sir James Mumby is frustrated that despite years of legal experts campaigning for greater help the position has not changed. Sir James Mumby is quoted as saying that his recent calls are no more than what Judges have been saying for 40 years.
There has been a number of recent high profile cases in which even when women who have spent 35 years in a relationship often making career sacrifices to raise a family, can find themselves penniless if they have not married. Sir James Mumby is quoted as stating “she may be, to use the vernacular, thrown on the scrapheap, at a time when because of her age and because of the time she has been out of employment, there is no way she can rebuild her career”.
Only time will tell whether Sir James Mumby’s calls for cohabiting couples to have similar rights to married couples will occur but given this governments focus on marriage and rewarding married couples, this seems unlikely.