Top divorce lawyer comments on judge saying cohabitating couples should have more rights

Deborah Jeff, the Founding Partner and Head of Family at Seddons Solicitors in London comments on the country's top female judge Baroness Hale of Richmond's comments that two million unmarried couples in England and Wales should be given greater legal rights.

Deborah JeffBaroness Hale indicated that those cohabiting in England and Wales ought to enjoy the same legal protection as those in Scotland and said there were "lessons to be learnt" from the law north of the border. The Supreme Court justice made the remarks in a recent ruling that ordered a Scottish man to pay his former partner nearly £40,000 after their relationship broke down.

“For some time now the law for those who choose to live together rather than marry has needed revisiting. It is property law that currently applies to cohabitees and this often does not reflect the other contributions one or both parties has made to the relationship. It is fair to say that if cohabitees want all the benefits of marriage then they should marry, but the current law often leaves one party seriously disadvantaged financially which cannot be right. The arrangements must make good commercial sense and, if children are born, reflect the valuable contribution of caring for the family”.

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Seddons is a 20-year-old central London law firm (based at 5 Portman Square) with a total of over 70 staff, including 19 partners.

Chambers notes ‘This team offers clients the full range of family services, and is particularly noted for its expertise on divorce proceedings’ and the Legal 500 says 'Deborah Jeff provides an excellent level of service at Seddons'.