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As the significance of marriage declines in family law there is no longer any justification for excluding cohabitation from full legal recognition. Discuss.

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  • Essay length: 2982 words
  • Submitted: 19/06/2006
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University Degree Family Law

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As the significance of marriage declines in family law there is no longer any justification for excluding cohabitation from full legal recognition. Discuss.

As the question assumes that the significance of marriage is declining in family law, the first task of this essay will be to establish whether this is factually the situation. This will be ascertained using trends in the divorce rate, the effect of statutes on marriage, and consideration of whether marriage was ever particularly significant in family law anyway. The justification, if one exists, of excluding co-habitation from legal recognition will then be discussed, developing into more in depth reasoning regarding co-habitation, and whether it should enjoy a status in any way analogous to that of marriage. The more controversial issue of the extension of such rights to same sex couples will then be considered, in view of recent case law, and the Human Rights Act 1998.

The role of marriage in society can be said to have been in decline in the latter half of the twentieth century, with statistics showing the marriage rate generally declining, especially in the final thirty years of the century, whilst the divorce rate increased.

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