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Book Cover
Author Probert, Rebecca.

Title The changing legal regulation of cohabitation : from fornicators to family, 1600-2010 / Rebecca Probert
Published Cambridge [UK] ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2012
Online access available from:
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Description 1 online resource
Series Law in context
Law in context.
Contents Cover; The Changing Legal Regulation of Cohabitation; Series; Title; Copyright; Contents; Figures; Acknowledgements; 1 Introduction; Defining and describing cohabitation; Believing themselves to be married?; The extent of cohabitation in past times; The scope and structure of the book; 2 'Fornicators': the punishment of illicit sex,1600-1760s; Punishing sex outside marriage; The rarity of cohabitation; Restoration rakes and libertines; 'Cohabitation' contracts in the secular courts; Conclusion; 3 No Name: law, morality and precedent in the long nineteenth century, 1770s-1900; What name?
6 'Stable illicit unions': cohabitation andthe reform of divorce, 1963-1972How many cohabiting couples were barred from marrying?; Did cohabiting couples regularise their unions in the wake of divorce reforms?; Divorce as a reason for cohabitation; Conclusion; 7 'Common-law wives': the creation ofthe myth, 1973-1979; Charting the rise of cohabitation; Visibility and acceptability; Setting up home; From 'living in sin' to 'common-law marriage'; Legal change and the creation of the common-law marriage myth; Day-to-day advantages and disadvantages; Protection within the home
Big claims and small numbersNo numbers; Non-numbers; New numbers; What proportion of couples had gone through a formal ceremony of marriage?; Westmorland in 1787; 'Notorious' Neithrop in 1851; Berkhamsted in 1851; Kilsby in 1851; Housekeepers and lodgers; What proportion of illegitimate births can be attributed to cohabiting couples?; How many couples were sharing a home before they married?; Passing as married?; Were cohabiting couples ever treated as if they were married?; Promises of provision: the law's approach; Making provision for separation; Making provision for death
Divorce and cohabitationConclusion; 4 'Unmarried wives' in war and peace, 1900-1927; High theory and limited practice; Responding to reality; Wartime emergencies; Peacetime emergencies; The disappearance of the 'unmarried wife' from the statute book; War babies and returning soldiers; Conclusion; 5 'Living in sin': concerns and changes,1928-1963; Ideas, attitudes and practices; Changing behaviour; Facilitating (re)marriage; The preference for the married family; State recognition: entitlements and disqualifications; The appearance of 'common-law wives'; Conclusion
Rights in the family homeRights on breakdown and death; The emergence of the 'common-law marriage' myth; The impact of change; Conclusion; 8 'Live-in lovers': under the Tories,1979-1997; The accelerating rise of cohabitation; The stalling of momentum; Continuing incentives to cohabit; Cohabitants as parents; The 'Live-in Lovers' Bill; Conclusion; 9 'Partners': New Labour and neutrality, 1997-2010; Continuing legal uncertainties, omissions and limitations; Cohabitation today: difficulties in interpreting the demographic evidence; Reform deferred; Fuelling the common-law marriage myth
Summary "This book has three key aims: first, to show how the legal treatment of cohabiting couples has changed over the past four centuries, from punishment as fornicators in the seventeenth century to eventual acceptance as family in the late twentieth; second, to chart how the language used to refer to cohabitation has changed over time and how different terms influenced policy debates and public perceptions; and, third, to estimate the extent of cohabitation in earlier centuries. To achieve this it draws on hundreds of reported and unreported cases as well as legislation, policy papers and debates in Parliament; thousands of newspaper reports and magazine articles; and innovative cohort studies that provide new and more reliable evidence as to the incidence (or rather the rarity) of cohabitation in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century England. It concludes with a consideration of the relationship between legal regulation and social trends"-- Provided by publisher
Notes Includes index
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index
Notes Print version record
Subject Fornication -- England -- History.
Unmarried couples -- Legal status, laws, etc. -- England -- History.
Unmarried couples -- Social aspects -- England.
Genre/Form History.
Form Electronic book
ISBN 1139107852 (electronic bk.)
1139569147 (electronic bk.)
9781139107853 (electronic bk.)
9781139569149 (electronic bk.)