Unmarried Couples, Law, and Public Policy

Unmarried Couples, Law, and Public Policy

by Cynthia Grant Bowman
Pub. Date:
Oxford University Press, USA

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Unmarried Couples, Law, and Public Policy

In this work, Cynthia Grant Bowman explores legal recognition of opposite-sex cohabiting couples in the United States. The author argues that the many benefits attendant upon formal marriage should be extended to cohabitants who have lived together for more than two years or give birth to a child.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780195372274
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date: 04/14/2010
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgements i

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 Cohabitation in the United States: The Past 12
Criminalization of Cohabitation 13
Common Law Marriage and Related Fictions 23
Denial of Benefits to Cohabitants: A Case Study of Illinois 31
The Inadequacy of Equitable Remedies 43

Chapter 2 Legal Treatment of Cohabitation in the United States Today 52
Cohabitants' Rights Based on Contract 53
Cohabitants' Rights Based on Status 60
Meretricious Relationships in Washington 60
Domestic Partnership Laws 67
Rights Against Third Parties 78
Benefits from the State 79
Tort Claims against Third Parties 83
Health-Related Benefits 89
Cohabitants and Their Children 91

Chapter 3 Cohabitation in the United States Today 104
The 1960s 104
Change over Time 108
Statistics 108
Rate and Age of Marriage 110
Predictions 112
Who Cohabits and Why? 114
College Students and Young Dating Singles 114
Variations by Income 118
Variation by Race and Ethnic Group: African Americans 124
Variation by Race and Ethnic Group: Latino/as 127
Divorced Persons 131
The Elderly 132
Other Characteristics 134

Chapter 4 Social Science and Cohabitation 138
The Pioneers 138
Trends in the Literature 140
What Social Science Has Told us about Cohabitation 144
Duration of Cohabiting Unions 144
The Economics of Cohabiting Relationships 151
Management of money within cohabiting relationships 152
The impact of cohabitation upon the economic well-being of the partners and their children 155
Division of household labor between cohabitants 158
Quality of the Relationship 161
Domestic Violence and Cohabitation 166
Impact of Cohabitation on Children 175
What We Know: A Summary 185
Implications of the Social Science Findings 187

Chapter 5 Treatment of Cohabitation in Other Nations 191
England: Non Recognition and Piecemeal Benefits 193
Canada: The New Common Law Marriage? 206
De Facto Relationship in Australia 216
The Netherlands: A Cafeteria Approach to Cohabitants' Rights 224
France: Concubinage and the Pacte Civil de Solidarité 230
Sweden and Neutrality between Cohabitation and Marriage 239

Chapter 6 A New Law for Cohabitants in the United States 247
Recommendations for Reform of U.S. Law 250
Imposition by Law of Quasi-marital Status on Cohabitants after Two Years or a Child 250
A System of Registration for Domestic Partnerships 255
The Ability of Cohabitants to Contract Out of Obligations 256
The Impact of the Proposed Reforms on Marriage 258
Incentives and Marriage 258
Cross-historical and Cross-national Comparisons 262
The Impact of the Proposed Reforms on Various Groups of Cohabitants 267

Conclusion 272

Bibliography 274


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