Barlow’s Cohabitants And The Law, 4th Edition (Part 1)

In Part I (Chapters 1–6) of the book, I examine the law which affects cohabitants/the ‘unmarried family’ when living together as a unit.

One significant development since the last edition published in 2001 (discussed at Chapter 2) is that on the birth of a child the joint registration by the parents of that child will confer on the unmarried father parental responsibility. There has also been legal recognition of the fact that the desire to be a parent is not specific to gender or sexual orientation, such that the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 now enables a child born to a same sex couple (whether through assisted reproduction or surrogacy) to be treated as the child of both parents.

In Chapter 3, I highlight that local housing authorities are now under a duty to provide the statutory homeless with permanent accommodation (s 193(3) HA 1996 as amended by the Homelessness Act 2002, s 6, which abolished the minimum period (of two years) for which a local authority was subject to a duty to rehouse).

The changes to the benefits system and the introduction of Universal Credit are examined in Chapter 4.

Chapter 5, looks at the developments in the law where a cohabitant dies, noting that same sex cohabitants were only included as a separate category of applicant entitled to apply for provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 with effect from 5 December 2005.

Chapter 6, continues the discussion of the position of and impact on a cohabitant or his or her partner involved in divorce or dissolution proceedings.

If you or a client of yours is potentially affected by any of these issues, do contact me at

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