Living apart together (LAT) and law : exploring legal expectations among LAT individuals in Belgium
Faculty of Law
Faculty of Social Sciences. Sociology
Social and legal studies. - London, 1992, currens
, p. 357-376
University of Antwerp
This article focuses on individual perceptions of the legal protection afforded to living apart together (LAT) partners in Belgium. Drawing on semi-structured interviews with 54 individuals engaged in an LAT partnership, this study explores the meaning LAT individuals attach to their union and investigates the relationship between their understanding of their relationship, their legal expectations and views on legal reform. Our findings indicate that, in Belgium, LAT individuals do not expect marriage-like family law legal provisions within their union. On the other hand given the nature of their relationship LAT individuals believe they should be granted the same family-based benefits as those enjoyed by their cohabiting or married counterparts. A differential between LAT-individuals legal expectations and views exists according to their socioeconomic status. Relationship expectations play a role as well, albeit indirectly, with transitional and undecided LAT individuals being somewhat more concerned about legal issues than individuals in permanent LAT arrangements.