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Cohabiting Couples Fastest Growing Family Type

According to statistics from the Office for National Statistic, cohabiting couples are the fastest growing family type in the UK. The 2014 study showed that cohabiting families grew by almost 30% between 2004 and 2014.

The figures come from the Household and Families 2014 statistical report, which has collected data since 1996, on the average size of families, people living alone and the number of households by type.

Cohabiting Couples

The study shows that the number of cohabiting couples rose by 29.7% in ten years, making cohabitation one of the most common family types in the UK. The report indicates that there were close to 3 million opposite sex couples living together, with 84,000 same sex cohabiting couples.

In total the number of cohabiting couples made up over 16% of family living arrangements in the UK. The previous 2004 study showed 13% of all families in the UK were cohabiting families, with same sex couples making a 0.1% increase in the overall family types to 0.5% of all family types in the UK.

Despite the growth in the number of cohabiting couples, the number of unmarried couples with children fell by 7,000 in 2014 alone suggesting that many are turning to marriage if they have a child.

Harry Benson, research director at the Marriage Foundation said: “Despite the dramatic rise in births to unmarried couples over the last 30 years, we are not seeing similarly huge increases in the population of cohabiting couples with children.

“Nearly half of all births are outside marriage, yet fewer than one in six families with children are headed by cohabiting couples.

“In contrast, a steady 60 per cent are headed by a married couple."

Cohabitation Rights

Despite no common law marriage in the UK, 51% of respondents to the British Social Attitudes Survey in 2008 thought that unmarried couples had the same rights as married couples if they had been living together for a significant amount of time. Although this is not the case the cohabitation bill, which is in the early stages of parliament, looks to give more rights to couples living together, however does not act as a common law

Alison Hawes, a family and divorce expert said on the findings from the report: “The idea of a common law partner whereby people simply living together have the same rights as married couples is currently a myth and it is about time the out of touch cohabitation laws were brought up to date.

“Many people in this situation don’t know that they are not well protected in the event of a separation and we have seen examples of people literally being left out in the cold because they have been evicted from a house they have shared with their partner for years.

“The latest statistics are further evidence of how the world is changing and people are now living their lives differently to 10, 20 years ago.”

She added: “The only way for couples to protect themselves and their assets in the event of a split is to prepare a cohabitation agreement or property ownership document with advice from legal specialists from the outset.”

The survey found that there were over 2 million lone parents in the UK with 91% of said group being women.

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If you require advice on setting up a cohabitation agreement or any legal advice on asset protection our team of expert lawyers can help. Contact us today using our online contact form to find out how our team can help you.

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