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Cohabitation Laws Criticised in Review of Scots Family Law

The Scottish Government recently published a review of Scots family law. The study considered the way the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006 has worked in practice in the ten years since it was introduced.

The Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006 is one of the major pieces of family law legislation. It introduced rights for cohabitants and reformed the rights of unmarried fathers in Scotland. When the act was passed into law it was commended for modernising Scots family law and recognising the way the family dynamics have changed over time. However, many solicitors and stakeholder groups have criticised the Act for being unclear, poorly drafted and not going far enough to reflect the realities of modern family life.

The review was led by the Convener of the Justice Committee, Christine Grahame MSP, and heard evidence from a broad range of interested parties, including members of the legal profession, politicians and pressure groups such as Families Need Fathers.

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More children born out with marriage

The American Census Bureau has recently published a report that reveals a sharp increase in the number of children born to unmarried mothers. The report shows that in 2011, around 36% of babies were born to single mothers.

Susan Stewart, a sociologist at Iowa State University, suggests that this spike may be linked to the impact of the recent economic downturn.

“The recession has screwed up everything in terms of marriage and family patterns,” Stewart said. “Birth rates were down, marriage rates were down and divorce rates were down because of the recession.”

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