A top UK judge has proposed changes to the law for unmarried partnerships, claiming the present situation is an "injustice".
Sir Nicholas Wall, head of the government's family law division, urged reform this week.
The judge believes unmarried couples who break up should have the legal right to have a fair share of assets and money between them.
Wall said in the Times: "I am in favour of cohabitees having rights because of the injustice of the present situation."
There are an estimated two million cohabiting couples in the UK, yet they are not protected by family law from financial hardship if they were to split from their partner.
Wall was particularly sensitive to women who are affected by a split, and said: "Women cohabitees, in particular, are severely disadvantaged by being unable to claim maintenance and having their property rights determined by the conventional laws of trusts."
At present cohabitees of either gender in England and Wales have no legal rights. Legislation under Scottish family law does allow cohabitees to make limited claims against each other.
Does cohabitee law in England and Wales need to be reformed?
Would any change belittle the institution of marriage?
Are you part of an unmarried couple and worried about splitting?
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Top judge wants fair shares for unmarried couples who break up (Guardian)
More about cohabitation in UK law (Findlaw.co.uk)
Learn about marriage, family law and divorce (Findlaw.co.uk)
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