Cohabitation Rather Than Marriage
According to the Office for National Statistics there is a significant increase, 34% in the number of cohabiting couples with dependent children in the ten years to 2011. The Report says that the number of cohabiting families with dependent children increased by 292,000 whilst married couples with dependant children fell by 319,000 in this 10 year period.
The Report suggests that rather than cohabitation being a 'trial run' before marriage it is a replacement for marriage.
The research shows a shift in attitude from the more traditional view that couples should be married before having children.
The Report also acknowledged that cohabiting couple families appear to be less stable than married couple families as there is a higher proportion of all family breakdowns involving young children from unmarried parents.
Those participating in the survey were also asked about their understanding of legal rights of cohabiting couples compared to married couples. Over a quarter questioned believed that cohabiting couples have the same rights as married couples when it comes to a child's living arrangements, 22 % when it comes to property and 21% when it comes to finances.
This is not the case, cohabiting couples do not have the same rights as married couples. Many people assume, wrongly that they have rights as a common law spouse but there is no such thing in law.
If you are cohabiting you should have a Living Together Agreement setting out how any assets are to be divided in the event the relationship breaks down. This could save you alot of money and heartache in the long run.