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Heterosexual Couple Fail in Civil Partnership Bid

A heterosexual couple who wanted to enter into a civil partnership have lost their case. Rebecca Steinfeld, 34, and Charles Keidan, 39 were seeking a judicial review of the law but this was refused by the judge, Mrs Justice Andrews. The couple have been together for over five years and have an eight-month-old baby.

Steinfeld and Keidan said that they rejected marriage because it is a patriarchal institution. They argued that civil partnerships, on the contrary, are a modern legal relationship that does not have the same history and associations as marriage. Mrs Justice Andrews recognised that many people would agree with the couple’s opinion “that it is unfair that a route to state recognition of their relationship which is open to a same-sex couple … remains unavailable to them because they are heterosexual.”

Mrs Justice Andrews rejected the claim that the couple were unable to have their relationship formally recognised by the state as they do have the option of marriage, even though they do not agree with it. She also dismissed the couple’s claim their right to a private life was being interfered with as, “There is no evidence that they are subjected to humiliation, derogatory treatment, or any other lack of respect for their private lives on grounds of their heterosexual orientation by reason of the withholding of the status of civil partners from them.”

After their case was rejected, Ms Steinfeld said, “We don’t think there is sufficient justification for stopping us or other opposite-sex couples from forming civil partnerships.” The couple have stated that they will appeal the decision.

Cohabitation Growth

Marriage rates are at the lowest they have ever been. The Office for National Statistic (ONS) reported that in 2009 there were 231,490 marriages compared to 426,241 in 1972. This is due to a general liberalisation of society and relationships. Nowadays, many people would never even consider marrying someone until they had lived with them for some time. Many people do not see any reason to marry at all. Like Ms Steinfeld and Mr Keidan, some people completely reject marriage on the basis that it is a patriarchal institution.

The fall in marriage rates has been coupled with a steady growth in cohabitation. The ONS reported that numbers of cohabiting couple families have grown by 30% over the last ten years. Cohabitation rates are expected to continue to rise.

Anyone who in a cohabiting relationship should consider a cohabitation agreement. This is a contract between a couple that sets out what will happen to their property and money if they decide to split up in the future. It may seem unromantic, but having a cohabitation agreement in place can help to make a difficult time easier. A cohabitation agreement could help you avoid the unnecessary stress and arguments that can be attached to working out who owns what after you split up.

Contact Cohabitation Lawyers Liverpool

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