Unmarried partners are a step closer to gaining improved rights following a landmark Court of Appeal ruling which has given greater recognition to the status of cohabiting individuals.
This means that they can claim for loss of support or maintenance in the case of the death of a partner.
Judge Colleen Collis ruled that the court must 'keep up with the times' as modern relationships are not always cemented with marriage.
The judge granted an order for a woman who's partner died in a car accident. The couple had lived together, but the man was still married to his estranged wife at the time of his death.
Cohabitation relationships in our law are not recognised. There is no law that regulates the rights of parties in a cohabitation relationship. This is more matters before the court where the diseased was still married to someone else, but living together with the plaintiff at the time of his death. On the facts of the case, it was then determined that he had a duty to support because they were going to get married.— Bertus Preller, Family Law Expert
Preller said that the judge rightfully found that judges need to adopt the common law to reflect the changes of our morals.
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