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Cohabiting couples to get same rights as married ones

Unmarried couples could be given similar financial rights to those who are married, on the back of proposals made by the Law Commission.Unmarried couples, who have children or have been living together for a minimum period and then split up would be given the right to something like a divorce Partners would be entitled to financial support, the right to live in the family home and perhaps even a share in their partner's pension, if the recommendations become law.Stuart Bridge, the law commissioner responsible for the proposals, said: "More and more families involve couples who are living together but who have not married. "The law that currently applies to resolve property disputes between such couples on separation is unclear and complicated, and it can produce unfair outcomes. "This causes serious hardship not only to cohabitants themselves, but also to their children." The government requested the Law Commission to draw up reforms two years ago, to give protection the growing number of people living together outside marriage. Official figures put the number of cohabiting couples in England and Wales at 2.2 million, and the number of children being brought up by unmarried couples at 1.25 million in the last official count in 2001. The government predicts this trend to grow, and suggests that there will be 3.8 million cohabiting couples by 2031.

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