Views on Marriage and Cohabitation in the UK

The latest statistical bulletin, Households and Families, published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), shows that cohabiting couple families in the UK have doubled from 1.5 million families in 1996 to 3.3 million families in 2016.

There were 3.2 million opposite sex cohabiting couple families and 87,000 same sex cohabiting couple families in the UK in 2016. Together, cohabiting couple families account for 17% of all families in the UK.

Couples in U.K have their opinion divided when it comes living together vs married together. Recently there is a shift towards cohabitation for parenting rather, instead of getting married.

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Many factors are responsible for this shift we see nowadays.

Most of the kids born at least 45% are born outside of marriage.

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Barriers to adoption by non-married couples have been removed.

Survey evidence on the importance of marriage is mixed.  The National Centre for Social Research British Social Attitudes study demonstrates that cohabiting unmarried parenting is increasingly seen as acceptable.  The proportion who agrees “it makes no difference to children whether their parents are married or just living together” rose from 38% in 1998 to 45% in 2006.  27% disagreed with the statement in 2006, with the remainder taking no view.

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If we look at old research studies, we can see the data of cohabitation going as old as the 1920’s which moved exponentially by the 1970’s and now in U.K as mentioned earlier more and more couples same sex or opposite are moving towards the idea of simply living together, as the government policies do not intervene anymore the idea of getting married is a bit fairytales ish and farfetched. It does not affect their taxes nor banking systems and they can adopt kids if required, all of these reasons are motivating for couples to just cohabitate rather than marry.

Cost of engagement ring plus wedding

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The data in the report shows that the current average cost of a wedding in the U.K is now 16,005, compared to last year’s average cost of £15,171. If the costs of both the engagement ring and honeymoon are also included the average cost of a U.K wedding is £20,731 which is also an increase on last year’s average of £19,893.,average%20cost%20of%20%C2%A315%2C171

If we look at the cost data as well many couples opt of investing that money towards a down payment of a house or investing it some other business to start further income, marriage to young couples sounds more like a cost now. The ratio of both couples working is has also gotten high this is especially the case in same sex couples.

They can use that money to plan out even vacation and still save a lot of cash for other expenses. Inflation rate is somewhere around 2.04% per year, meaning the £ value is getting worse year after year.

There also a declining in shame of having kids outside of marriage coupled that with less pressure to marry someone is general, women have more financial independence they have secure better jobs and positions of power meaning they are less likely to choose an institution or marriage over their career.

On the other hand fear of getting divorce is also one of main reasons in post later modernism. Divorces are getting more and more acceptable by the society. Two partners who are living togethers are not affected by the following laws.

Inheritance – only they have joint ownership


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Kids – only if the child in question is not getting proper care and nourishment

Financial support – the court does not have the right to say anything when two individuals are living together unless they have gotten a contract of dividing expenses together.

In England and in wales, it is legal for partners to have a sexual relationship as long as they are above 16 and its consensual.

Up till now we have discussed all the benefits and the reasons why people are avoiding marriage and moving towards cohabitation

There are many negatives when it comes simply living together independently,

Both men and women in cohabiting relationships are more likely to be unfaithful to their partners than married people.

Cohabitation last only two years before partners either leave each other or its converted into marriage.

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As per the studies mentioned in the article married couples are more likely to earn more around 10-40 percent as compared cohabitating men. Lone mothers cohabitating often lack support of the father making it more difficult for them to take of their children responsibilities with there career.

Cohabitate partners have more health issues then married couples as they are more likely to be involved drinking or smoking issues or even substance abuse. They are also more likely to be suffering from depression than married couples.

Domestic abuse is also more common in cohabitant relationships where women are more likely to suffer as compared to married women.

When it comes to children more than 20% of children born in the UK belong to cohabitating parents however one third of children only stay with both of there parents for a child to grow with proper nourishment and role models both parents must play certain roles in his / her life. It goes same for same sex partners as well, a child needs to see two parents in action or alteast one of them should be with him/her if the other one is taking the sole responsibilities of being bread earner of the house. It does not matter whose doing what but when it comes kids they need proper care and attention.

Young couples in U.K now have to make a conscious decision and fully understand the pros and cons of cohabitation or living together as they are many examples where a child is born outside marriage and he / she is seeing a stepfamily, it might be okay at first but emotionally it may harm the upbringing of the child and he / she might socially distant when it comes to being in a committed relationship in the future.

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