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Cohabitation Families Increase Across the UK

The number of cohabitation families in the UK has increased by 29.7% according to statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Worryingly, 51% of those surveyed in a subsequent poll believed that despite the UK having no common law marriage, couples that had been living together for a long time had the same rights as a married couple, with some believing that this was perhaps a reason for the continued growth in cohabitation families.

UK’s Families

The ONS’s Household and Families 2014 report showed that there had been a significant rise in the number of cohabitation families, with 16% of all UK families being made up by those choosing to live together without marriage or some sort of legal protection. According to the statistics there were 3 million opposite sex cohabiting couple families and 84,000 same sex cohabiting couple families in the UK in 2014.

A 2004 study have the overall proportion of cohabiting couples at 13% indicating a 3% rise in the trend in ten years.

Multi Family Living

The number of households which saw two or more families living under one roof was one of the biggest movers, with the figure up 56% cent in a decade, with 2014 being the fastest growth for such a living situation. In total the report estimates that there are 313,000 multi-family households in the UK.

Change in Cohabitation Trends?

Despite the rise in the cohabitation in families, the study found that there had been a significant change in the trends regarding marriage as well as cohabitation. The number of unmarried couples with children has fallen by 7,000 in the UK suggesting that those with children are more likely to be married.

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.

“What we are seeing is how very few cohabiting parents remain unmarried and together – almost all either marry or split up.”

The study, which accesses living lifestyles in the UK found that there were over 2 million lone parents living with a child, 91% of which were females.

Cohabitation Rights Bill

A Cohabitation Rights Bill is in the early stages of going through Parliament to give cohabiting couples similar rights to that of married couples. According to family law experts the best way to protect yourself and your rights is to contact a solicitor to ensure protections and agreements are in place.

Alison Hawes, a family and divorce law expert, said: “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.”

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.

“It is very similar to a pre-nuptial agreement, and enables both parties to ensure they state clearly how their assets should be divided in the event that their relationship does sadly come to an end.”

Contact Us

If you require legal advice on cohabitation or require our legal services for a cohabitation agreement or property ownership document contact us today. Our team of expert family solicitors are here to help so get in touch through our online contact form.


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