Is a marriage certificate 'just a piece of paper'?

In light of the supreme court decision to

On 31 August 2018 The Times reported that an unmarried mother, Siobhan McLaughlin had won her Court battle over benefits for widows.

This has led to calls for reform after The Supreme Court ruled that to deny widows bereavement benefits to Siobhan because she and her partner of 23 years were unmarried was discriminatory and a breach of human rights.

This is certainly good news.

However, whilst Siobhan was delighted that The Supreme Court had shared how her views that the law as it stands had discriminated against her children, she also said “I naively thought that the longer we were together as a couple, the more rights you had. Our four children had their dad’s name – to me it was just a ring and a piece of paper, the commitment was just the same”.

Worryingly, this view is still held by many but it is simply not the case.

Whilst no-one wants to think that their relationship may end it is well worth just checking out the legal position if the worst should happen. 

CONTACT MARILYN

If you would like more information or advice relating to this article or a Family law matter, please do not hesitate to contact Marilyn Bell on 01727 798066 or 07725 372256. 

Read our latest Divorce & Family Law Views and Insights
Good coverage in private law children and financial work, so they are able to offer a full service to clients.
The Legal 500
Divorce and family law image showing 2 red chairs
Views & Insights
Divorce, money, and children

Are you being told the truth?

Read More
SA Law Red Mug Coffee
Views & Insights
Honest answers - financial settlements for separating and divorcing couples

No matter what anyone tells you, there is never one ‘single truth that works for everyone’ when it comes to relationship breakdown and divorce.

Read More
Child holding hands with parent - SA Law's Dignified Divorcee
Views & Insights
Honest answers - children arrangements for separating and divorcing couples

We explore some common misconceptions about how the courts decide on the best arrangements for children.

Read More
SA Law Red Mug Coffee
Views & Insights
'I can transfer money to a trusted friend and it cannot be counted as a marital asset'

As part of our series of FAQs on common assumptions in separation and divorce, Bindu Malkan looks at concerns around asset transfer

Read More
Child holding hands with parent - SA Law's Dignified Divorcee
Views & Insights
'Can stop my ex introducing the children to their new partner?'

As part of our series of FAQs on common assumptions in separation and divorce, Simran Gupta considers the difficulties surrounding new relationships

Read More
Divorce and family law red chair SA Law
Views & Insights
No-fault divorce: It’s time to finally end the blame game

Divorce specialist, Julie Cohen, discusses ‘no-fault’ divorce law, which is now due to come into force in April 2022.

Read More
I found SA Law to be very organised and – importantly for me – they were very transparent about the costs, something I found very refreshing from a law…
The Legal 500

© SA LAW 2021

Every care is taken in the preparation of our articles. However, no responsibility can be accepted to any person who acts on the basis of information contained in them alone. You are recommended to obtain specific advice in respect of individual cases.