Legal rights for people who live apart together

Carter, J. (2013) Legal rights for people who live apart together. In: British Sociological Association Conference 2013 - Engaging Sociology, 3rd-5th April, 2013, Grand Connaught Rooms, London.

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Abstract

About 10% of adults in Britain have a living apart together (LAT) relationship; they are nearly always administratively and legally defined as single but in fact they have a partner who lives elsewhere. The question then arises, should LAT couples have access to legal rights and protection in the same way as proposed (in Britain) or achieved (in other jurisdictions) for unmarried cohabitants? Using both a national survey and in-depth
interviews, we find that a significant proportion of LAT partners extend substantial levels of care and support both to each other and, if relevant, to their partners' dependent children. For other LAT partners levels of support are lower, or even absent. Similarly, about a third of our interviewees thought LAT relationships should have given legal rights, a third thought these should depend on circumstances, while the final third were opposed to any extension of legal rights or thought this unnecessary. A number of overarching themes surrounded this issue in interviewees' narratives - the presence of children, the existence of commitment, the longevity of the relationship, the logistics of organising a legal system, and the possibility that some might take advantage. We suggest that 'opt-in' legal provisions could provide a model for any extension of legal rights to LAT relationships in the UK.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology > HM1001 Social psychology > HM1106 Interpersonal relations. Social behavior
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
K Law
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Psychology, Politics and Sociology > Salomons Centre for Applied Psychology
Depositing User: Julia Carter
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2015 14:48
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2015 14:44
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/13924

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00