Vardags’ director Catherine Thomas spoke to The Daily Telegraph as a columnist questioned the role of marriage in the modern world. Entering a discussion about the rights of cohabitees, Catherine argued against ascribing automatic entitlements to couples who live together.
“I don’t necessarily agree that cohabitation should be amended so severely to make it a halfway house between where we are and marriage,” she said. “People say cohabitation needs protection. I think that’s quite paternalistic – if you want the all legal protections marriage offers, get married.”
Drawing from her own life, and those of her clients, she said “Plenty of people live together because they make an active decision not to get married”. She went on to advocate for couples to have a cohabitation agreement “That just clarifies the position of who owns what and it clarifies what everyone earns so you have got a proper recording to avoid the litigation,” she said. “I think they’re a very good idea. That might be a better way to do it if people were encouraged to have agreements.”
Comparing the difference between cohabitation and marriage, she concluded “I’m a believer in personal autonomy, but if there’s someone who earns less than their partner and wants greater financial protection, they should absolutely marry.”