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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: Law
  • Word count: 2764

‘The present law does not properly recognise, in all their forms, relationships which are deserving of marital status. This is inconsistent with a modern, tolerant society.’

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Assignment 1 12 - 11-2001 Prepared for Claire Aindow by Samantha Day Filename: C:\MyFiles\family law 2.wpd [COMMENT1] Table of Contents Introduction. 1 Marriage. 1 Cohabiting. 3 Property Rights. 3 Children. 5 Conclusion. 6 Table of Statues 7 Table of Cases 7 Bibliography 7 Introduction. 'The present law does not properly recognise, in all their forms, relationships which are deserving of marital status. This is inconsistent with a modern, tolerant society.' In this assignment I have been asked to discuss the above statement with reference not only to unmarried cohabitees, but also to other non traditional partnerships. The areas in which I intend to look are married couples as the traditional form and the 'so called non traditional' relationships of cohabiting, transsexual and same sex couples and what rights they have with regards to matters like property and children on the break down of a relationship whether married or not. Marriage. It may be a surprise to many people that the law is so different for people who have opted to live together as opposed to those who have decided to marry. Marriage is a legal and sometimes religious ceremony that unites a man and woman together. In marriage a man and woman become in many respects one legal entity. Each having the right to be supported by the other, to be able to marry legally under English law, you must first satisfy a number of conditions as set out in the Marriage Acts (1949-1994): * You must be aged sixteen or over - and if you are under the age of eighteen, you will need parental consent. ...read more.


If the relationship between two unmarried people breaks down then their property rights are unaffected. The distinction between "his, hers and theirs" (or indeed, between "his, his and theirs" or even "hers, hers and theirs") is very real in this situation and each party to the relationship is entitled to claim their own property. This is in noticeable distinction to the position between married couples where the courts can divide all property ("his, hers and theirs") in whatever way they consider best, regardless of who actually owns them. In the case of divorce following marriage breakdown the courts have a very wide jurisdiction over all the marital property and, such property is usually divided between the parties according to their perceived needs. It is important to appreciate this distinction. For example: It is quite common following a divorce for the former matrimonial home to be transferred into the sole name of the ex-wife who continues to live there with the children of the marriage. The ex-husband may also be obliged to pay maintenance for his children and/or his ex-wife. The reason this often happens is that the "needs" of the children to have a stable home environment and a roof over their heads quite often dictates that the house is transferred into the sole name of the ex-wife. This may be despite the fact that all mortgage payments, for example, may have been made by the ex-husband. Such a situation often causes tension for understandable reasons. The case of a cohabiting couple is quite different. ...read more.


Couples who are of the 'non traditional' grouping I.E. unmarried men and women, transsexuals and same sex partners have very little if no safety net to fall on should things go wrong. As a society I think we are now a lot more understanding when it comes to transsexuals and same sex couples than we used to be, but we are still behind the times when it comes to the law regarding these people actually being able to marry. Many people see marriage as a very public way of showing their friends, family and anyone else who might pay an interest, that they love each other. There is something about the formality of a wedding, its official nature, that makes the decision to stay together that much more binding, and it is this very right that is being denied to some couples, just because (and excuse the expression) our government is being run by people who still live in the middle ages. I know that some people choose not to marry as is their right, but at the same time transsexual and same sex couples should also be able to make that decision and not have it made for them. Marriage can be a wonderful union and I feel that everyone regardless of gender should be able to enter into this union if they want to. Table of Statues Children Act 1989. Marriage Acts 1949 - 1996. Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. Table of Cases Bellinger v Bellinger & HM Attorney General (intervenor) 2000. Burns v Burns 1984. Corbett v Corbett 1970. Grant v Edwards 1986. Jerry F Hall v Michael P Jagger 1999. Websites www. Thelawcentre.co.uk www.berrymanshacklock.co.uk www.luiss. ...read more.

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