Is Cohabitation An Alternative For Marriage?

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IS COHABITATION AN ALTERNATIVE TO MARRIAGE? Harder claims that the Canadian government has progressively gained more power to determine the nature of relationships between individuals, as is the case when common-law status is given, and that the government need not take the wishes and intentions of the individuals involved into account. This means increased state control over who is obligated to whom, and in what capacity, as well as who is deemed an appropriate recipient of the benefits and services that those in publicly, legally recognized couples are eligible for (156). Assigning common-law status to an increased number of people might initially appear to contradict the state 's desire to limit the funding of benefits and services. However, when the state treats individuals within a couple as a unit, and determines their eligibility for these benefits and services by examining their combined resources, the amount of beneficiaries it recognizes actually decreases (163). In their analysis of 2006 Canadian Census data, Martin and Hou found that over 50% of women in Canada between the ages 25 and 29 were either married or in common-law relationships. In contrast, 75% of women between 45 and 49 participate in one of the two forms of union. Their findings also show that older women are more likely to be married than younger women, and less likely to be in common-law relationships (68).The fact that common-law relationships are becoming more popular and that couples are

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