Cohabitation on the up, says ONS

Marriage continues to decline while the number of cohabiting couples in England and Wales increases, new statistics has shown.

The data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that almost 10 per cent of adults in England and Wales are cohabitees, a sharp rise from the 6.8 per cent of adults in 2002.

By comparison, 54.8 per cent of adults were married in 2002, but just 50.6 per cent of adults in 2015.

The trend for cohabiting couples is one of the strongest in the UK, growing by a clear margin of 29.7 per cent between the years of 2004 and 2015.

Cohabitation is officially defined as a ‘living arrangement in which an unmarried couple lives together in a long-term relationship that resembled a marriage’, but is often overlooked by law makers and is not recognised under intestacy rules.

Therefore, it is highly recommended that cohabiting couples take proactive measures, such as creating a cohabitation agreement, to secure their assets.

“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”, said Graeme Fraser of family law association, Resolution.

He also calls for the “urgent introduction of safety net legislation providing legal protection” which would provide “fair outcomes at the time of a couple’s separation, particularly for children and mothers left vulnerable under the existing law”.

He added: “In light of the latest ONS data, reform of the law for cohabiting couples should be one of the top priorities.”

Carter Lemon Camerons LLP Solicitors is a City law firm which provides legal services with a personal touch to both commercial and private clients. Unlike many City practices we are happy to act in smaller private legal matters, bringing the same care and consideration as we do to large commercial matters.  For more information about our cohabitation services please contact Chris Corney or telephone: 020 7406 1000.