According to the research, it can, therefore, be said that in the context of state benefits, the law accords the same treatment to married and heterosexual unmarried couples. For instance, a cohabiting couple will be accorded the status of a married couple only under certain circumstances, in respect of benefits. The objective of these provisions is not the elimination of bias between married and unmarried couples but to make certain that the benefits available to persons staying on their own are not claimed by unmarried couples. The Inheritance Act permits a cohabitant to apply for family provision if that person had cohabited with the deceased, in a manner akin to that of a married couple, for a minimum period of two years prior to death.
Moreover, maintenance applications can be preferred only by an individual who was being maintained by the deceased immediately before death. Section 28, empowers a cohabitee to claim financial provision on separation. Cohabitant partners who desire to proceed in accordance with the law of trusts have to issue proceedings for a declaration under the TOLATA (Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996).
Uncertainty to a significant extent was generated due to the seeming cessation of the constructive trust by the court of Appeal; this transpired in Oxley v Hiscock. The Civil Partnership Act 2004 was enacted through Royal Assent on 18th November 2004. Under this act person of the same sex can form a relationship that is legally not much different from marriage. Several amendments have transpired and it is no longer essential for civil partners to establish that they subsist as a married couple. It is merely sufficient to demonstrate that they live as civil partners.
The objective of the legislation is to ensure that marriage and civil partnership are accorded a similar social and legal status, in order to bestow equality upon couples who are of the same gender.
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