Cohabitation on the rise
11 November 2015 by Charlotte Knappett
Figures that were released last Thursday (5th November) show that the cohabiting couple family continues to be the fastest growing family type in the UK in 2015, reaching 3.2 million.
The Households and Families survey, published by the Office for National Statistics, shows that cohabiting couple families in the UK have increased by 29.7% between 2005 and 2015. However, the most common family type in 2015 remains the married or civil partner couple family with or without dependent children at 12.5 million.
The 3.2 million cohabiting couple families in the UK in 2015 is made up of 3.1 million opposite sex couples and 90,000 same sex couples. Opposite sex cohabiting couple families have increased from 14% of all families in 2005 to 17% in 2015. Same sex cohabiting couple families as a percentage of all families also saw an increase over the same time period from 0.3% to 0.5%.
Cohabiting couples currently have little by way of legal protection when they separate as I have explained in a previous blog.
Resolution’s spokesman on cohabitation law, Graeme Fraser, stated:
‘Under current cohabitation law it’s possible to live with someone for decades and even to have children together and then simply walk away without taking any responsibility for a former partner when the relationship breaks down. This can have a huge impact on women and children, particularly in cases where a mother has given up or reduced her work to raise a family.’
Speaking of the ONS data Mr Fraser said:
‘These statistics should be regarded by policymakers as a wake-up call that cohabitation is a trend of modern society that is not going to go away. As family lawyers who see the damage caused by the lack of protection for cohabiting couples when they separate, Resolution calls for the urgent introduction of safety net legislation providing legal protection and fair outcomes at the time of a couple’s separation, particularly for children and mothers left vulnerable under the existing law. In light of the latest ONS data it will be interesting to see Parliament’s reaction to the Cohabitation Rights Bill tabled by Lord Marks, which is currently in its early stages.’
If you are in a cohabiting relationship and would like advice in relation to a living together agreement, please click here.