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Press Release: Latest ONS findings on Cohabitation and the truth behind the myth of ‘common law marriage’

Press Release: Latest ONS findings on Cohabitation and the truth behind the myth of ‘common law marriage’


According to data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), cohabiting couple families are the fastest growing family type in the UK.

The ONS released on 28 January 2015 its Household and Families 2014 statistical bulletin.


According to the data Cohabiting couple families grew by 29.7% between 2004 and 2014 – the fastest growing type of family in the UK. 


The Truth behind the Myth


Do Cohabitees realise that they don’t have the same protection as married couples?

Although there is no such thing as common law marriage in UK law, 51% of respondents to the British Social Attitudes Survey in 2008 thought that unmarried couples who live together for some time probably or definitely had a ‘common law marriage’ which gives them the same legal rights as married couples, although this is not legally the case.

The Solution?

The solution is for couples to not wait for legal reform which may not appear, due to the sensitivity of the issue and fears that by protecting cohabitees, the Government would be undermining the institution of marriage.  What couples can do right now, is create their own Living Together Agreement available free from which shares the Charity Advicenow’s template with a full pack of support to help in the creation of a full life plan.

The Problem?

There is still such a stigma around divorce and breakup – seen as a ‘failure’ of a relationship, and this is a real issue when it comes to persuading couples to create a Living Together Agreement, according to Suzy Miller, creator of Living Together

She believes that people prefer to stick their heads in the sand – as she did for 10 years before her partner left her with 3 children, with no rights to the family home, no pension, and no obligation to pay her maintenance. 

Rather than accept that separation can happen, millions of couples in the UK are failing to protect the family structure through an agreement, which allows that family to not become a ‘broken’ family, but instead to evolve into an ‘extended’ family, with proper financial protection in place for the main carer of the children.

“It is seen as sensible to create a Will when you have children, yet, statistically, a person in a living together relationship is at least 5 times more likely to leave the relationship alive than dead, so a Cohabitation Agreement should be seen as just as sensible and socially acceptable as creating a Will.”


A frightening example of what can go wrong


A real life example of what can go wrong is shared in in a video interview with Mediator and Arbitrator Nadia Beckett of Beckett Solicitors LLP. Nadia explains the down-sides of not being married when you have a family to care for, and also what you can do about it,  and relates the frightening story of a mother in hospital giving birth, whose partner and father of her children changed the locks on the family home – legally – which would not be the case if they had been legally married:

Read the full article here:


Suzy Miller

07525 059 634

Hi Resolution images available on request

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