The Daily Mail has today reported the findings of a study carried out by the Marriage Foundation which concludes that there is a much greater chance of parents staying together whilst their children are young if those parents are married, rather than simply living together. Apparently, among the parents of 15 year old children who stayed together, 97% were married. The study also estimates the cost of family and Relationship Breakdown at £46 billion per year – an eye-watering figure – and that half of the Children born in 2013 will not be living with both parents by the time they reach their mid-teens.
I am not too sure what this says about the institution of marriage, and in a week where the subject of gay marriage and equal rights for all has been very much at the forefront of the news and political agendas, it is worth remembering that, when relationships break down, the rights of couples who are married are significantly different than for unmarried couples.
Who knows whether this is a factor in the findings of the report which seems to suggest that Cohabiting (as opposed to married) couples are much more likely to Separate. What seems abundantly clear is that the values of society are constantly shifting and, at present, there is a trend away from marriage. No-one has any reliable figures for the number of couples who simply live together outside of marriage or Civil Partnership but I suspect that the numbers are very significant. There are many reasons why couples decide not to marry but should that decision impact on their rights if and when the relationship comes to an end?
Working out Financial Arrangements at the end of a relationship can often be a complex and fraught affair. It is always better to understand the options available whether or not you are married. At Slater and Gordon we have a team of experts who can help. For more advice or information regarding Divorce and Separation, call one of our experienced Family Law Solicitors on 0800 916 9055.