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In The United Kingdom, Unwed Couples Gain New Rights

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From This Is London.co.uk

Cohabiting partners who split up would get similar rights to married couples who divorce under plans to be outlined this month.

They will be able to make claims through the courts for maintenance payments, lump sums, each other's pensions and a share of homes.

A woman who forsook her career to bring up children would also be able to claim a share of her partner's earnings.

The Law Commission, which is behind the reforms, says the proposals will make the system fairer and ensure that vulnerable and deserving women are properly rewarded.

But critics say the proposals are a "lawyer's dream" and further evidence that the Government is eroding marriage.

Under current law, the country's four million cohabiting couples have no financial rights if they split up.

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Tango’s Take
We mentioned that this was on the horizon in a Dish a few months back (See Dish From April 25th). By all accounts, the UK has become THE place to get divorced. They are very equitable about dividing assets. And Europeans (including their more civilized cousins living on the British Isles) have long been shying away from marriage. We ran a Dish on June 11th about the tradition of engagement rings. In the US they became very popular after women could no longer press charges for men who broke off engagements. They needed assurance that their dudes weren’t going to just ‘hit it and quit it,’ in the parlance of our times. This is a similar—changing laws and tradition to accommodate shifting social norms to protect the (possibly) weaker party in a relationship. There was a hilarious (using the term loosely) movie with French Stewart (the weird guy on Third Rock From The Sun), Bridgette Wilson (Veronica Vaughn of Billy Madison fame and Pete Sampras’s wife) and Bill Bellamy aptly titled Love Stinks (1999). The premise was a woman who received alimony despite never having been (technically) married. How did a French Stewart comedy see this coming while the rest of us had our heads in the sand?

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