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Separating from cohabitation: financial arrangements and consequences ESRC Gender Equality Network seminar 7 March 2008 Jane Lewis, NCB Rosalind Tennant.

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Presentation on theme: "Separating from cohabitation: financial arrangements and consequences ESRC Gender Equality Network seminar 7 March 2008 Jane Lewis, NCB Rosalind Tennant."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Separating from cohabitation: financial arrangements and consequences ESRC Gender Equality Network seminar 7 March 2008 Jane Lewis, NCB Rosalind Tennant and Jean Taylor, NatCen

3 Coverage of talk Separating from Cohabitation study methods what arrangements do couples make? who does badly out of it? how does this come about? how far would the Law Commission proposals help?

4 Separating from cohabitation study conducted by NatCen for DCA objectives: to explore arrangements made, impacts, processes, influences, role of advice and support qualitative research: 29 in-depth interviews (Aug to Nov 05) sample frame created from national random surveys: –ONS Omnibus to identify separated cohabitants, followed up by telephone screen –Financial Resources Survey (DWP) to identify lone parents, payers/recipients of child support, cohabitants 2-4 yrs ago, screened to identify separated cohabitants and collect more information purposive sample selected and approached 6 group discussions with advisors (Nov to Dec 05) –solicitors, CAB, CSA, lone parent orgs, housing and welfare rights centres, counselling, mediation

5 Profile of cohabitants Children Children from relationship Lived with children from previous relationships Youngest child Duration 0-2 years 3-4 Years 5-10 Years 11+ Years Home Man owned Women owned Jointly owned Renting Advice None Solicitor CAB CSA Other Recency of separation 3mths – 2 years 3-4 years 21 8

6 What arrangements did couples make? divided resources by legal title or ownership –sole owned houses kept by owner –joint owned houses sold or kept and offset –savings and possessions divided by ownership –pensions not taken into account very little independent influence of –contributions –needs including of children –equality –legal entitlement

7 Who does badly out of it? depends on how you assess fairness assessed arrangements by notions of fairness emerging from the research: –ownership –contribution –equal division –equal impact –cohabitation law –divorce law

8 Actually it doesnt much matter how you assess fairness … factors leading to disadvantage are fairly consistent across frameworks disadvantage arises from: –not owning the home or other assets –making no or informal financial contributions –being financially dependent during relationship –being main carer of children –… esp from a previous relationship –having no entitlement to state support

9 How does this come about? financial arrangements during relationship Equal Individual Joint Unequal

10 Financial arrangements during relationship Equal IndividualJoint Unequal unequal earnings, longer relationships, children joint home, different contributions, joint/different accounts

11 Financial arrangements during relationship Equal IndividualJoint Unequal unequal earnings, longer relationships, children joint home, different contributions, joint/different accounts both earning, no children joint home, equal contributions, joint accounts

12 Financial arrangements during relationship Equal IndividualJoint Unequal unequal earnings, longer relationships, children joint home, different contributions, joint/different accounts both earning, no children joint home, equal contribution, joint accounts unequal earnings, children/assets from previous relationships sole-owned home, dependency.

13 Financial arrangements during relationship Equal IndividualJoint Unequal unequal earnings, longer relationships, children joint home, different contributions, joint/different accounts both earning, no children joint home, equal contribution, joint accounts unequal earnings, children/assets from previous relationships sole-owned home, dependency influence of previous relationships retained separate homes, equal ad hoc contributions

14 How does this come about? financial arrangements during relationship evolution of cohabitation and financial arrangements unspoken and contingent nature of jointness irrelevance of legal rights during relationship not enforcing full legal rights on separation –not getting (adequate) legal advice –assets too limited to make cohabitation law work inadequacy of current cohabitation law

15 How far would the Law Commission proposals help?

16 Jane Lewis :


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