Tories reject cohabiting couple rights

Co-habiting couples should not receive similar legal guarantees as married couples, the Conservative’s Centre for Social Justice has said.

The Iain Duncan Smith-led thinktank, whose ideas have had a firm impact on David Cameron’s family policies, came out against the idea after the Law Commission suggested people should be able to claim financial support from partners they had lived with for a long time.

But the Tory thinktank wants legislation to follow a different agenda.

It is calling for pre-nuptial agreements to be stamped in law so that divorce courts must abide by them, rather than the current system where judges must only ‘take account’ of them.

Fathers will get new opportunities to see their children after divorce and grandparents allowed to stay in contact with their grandchildren.

“This review is working from an underlying assumption that marriage should be supported both in government and in the law and that, related to this, fatherlessness – or motherlessness – should be avoided,” Mr Duncan Smith said.

“Policy can and should be focused on stemming the tide of relationship breakdown. Marriage acts as a stabiliser and a signal. Married couples are far less likely to break up than couples who live together without getting married.”

Marriages last for an average of 11.5 years, compared to just two years for cohabiting partners.