Cohabitation Rights Bill [HL]: Briefing for Lords Stages

This House of Lords Library Briefing has been prepared in advance of the second reading of the Cohabitation Rights Bill [HL] in the House of Lords on 15 March 2019.

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The Cohabitation Rights Bill [HL] is a private member’s bill introduced by Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames (Liberal Democrat). The bill had its first reading in the House of Lords on 5 July 2017 and is due to receive its second reading on 15 March 2019. The bill proposes to establish a framework of rights for cohabiting couples following the breakdown of the relationship or the death of one of the cohabitants. 

The bill’s provisions would apply only to those cohabiting couples who either had a dependent child or who had been living together as a couple for a minimum of three years. The bill would provide the right for either cohabitant, upon the breakdown of the relationship, to apply to a court for a financial settlement order to redress a financial benefit or an economic disadvantage resulting from the period of cohabitation. The bill would provide the right for cohabitants to opt-out of the financial settlement provisions, if they both agreed. In addition, the bill would provide cohabitants with the right to succeed to their partner’s estate under the intestacy rules and the right to have an insurable interest in the life of their partner, similar to the rights of married and civil partnered couples.

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