General Comment 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights asks states to recognize and protect all families but leaves how to do this to state discretion. It is silent on whether all families must be protected equally in all circumstances. Often, states make normative distinction between unmarried cohabitants and married spouses such that cohabitants are normally not given the quality of rights and protections guaranteed to married spouses (Barlow et al, 2005). Whereas some researchers found that this situation creates disadvantages for cohabitants and argued for equal treatment of cohabitants and married spouses in all matters of concern to the family, others would like to preserve the usual strict distinctions between them. My thesis uses Ghana’s intestate succession law as primary data to take a mid-way position in this debate. It proposes a context specific approach to assessing issues of interest to the family taking into consideration the human rights implications so as to determine how appropriate it is to distinguish between cohabitants and married spouses. This suggests that human rights concerns should normally determine the essence of differential treatment to avoid discrimination against cohabitants.