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Cohabitation, Unmarried couples


Law and Society | Sexuality and the Law


The rate at which people live together in unmarried unions has increased enormously in recent decades, making this one of the remarkable social changes of our era. The response to this change in the law review literature has been inadequate. Recent articles about cohabitation have argued simply that the institution of marriage is better than cohabitation for both the couple and their children, and the law should therefore be structured so as to discourage this conduct, because to give legal protections to cohabitants will harm the institution of marriage. This article explores the findings of social scientists about cohabitation and argues that the appropriate response is not to deny cohabitants the protection of the law.

Publication Citation

Cynthia G. Bowman, "Social Science and Legal Policy: The Case of Heterosexual Cohabitation", 9 Journal of Law & Family Studies (2007)