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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Cohabitation

Marriage and divorce statistics

Posted by on in Family Law

The Registrar General for Scotland has released the latest provisional figures for births, deaths, marriages and civil partnerships registered during the first quarter of 2012.

The figures show 14,218 deaths were registered in Scotland between January and the end of March 2012 – the lowest number of deaths recorded during the first quarter of the year for at least 100 years. This was 317 (2.2%) fewer than in the same period of 2011, which had previously shown the lowest total.

The provisional figures show a 1.1% increase in the number of births in the first quarter of 2012 compared to the same period of 2011. There were 124 more marriages than in the first quarter of 2011, an increase of 4%, and a drop of 15 in the number of civil partnerships, taking the total to 83.

The latest Annual Review of Demographic Trends, also produced by the Registrar General, gives additional information on family trends in Scotland. The figures show that in 2010, the latest year available, the number of divorces was 10,034, 3% (337) fewer than the 10,371 in 2009.

From 1971 there was a marked increase in the number of divorces up to a peak of 13,365 in 1985. The early 2000s saw a slight fall from the levels recorded in the late 1980s and 1990s - perhaps because more couples are cohabiting without getting married, since divorce proceedings are not necessary to sever such relationships.

In 2010 the median duration of marriage ending in divorce was 15 years, compared with 12 years in 1999 and eleven years in 1985. Again, this change is probably due to more couples cohabiting rather than getting married.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v1.0.

A report from the think-tank, Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), has warned that government plans to cut child benefit for higher rate taxpayers could have negative consequences for family stability.

According to the report, couples will be deterred from marrying or cohabiting and there will be a greater risk of fraud in the benefits system. Single mothers will be particularly hard hit because they will be worse off if they marry or move in with a high-earning man.

Because of their visibility, married couples with one higher rate taxpayer will not be able to avoid losing their child benefit. Those who live together but are not married face a difficult decision. Either they will have voluntarily to inform the tax authorities of their personal arrangements or elect to commit fraud by denying the status of their relationship and continue claiming the benefit.

The CSJ says: "As there is far less clarity about when cohabitation begins, this measure discourages putting relationships on a more formal footing.

"Lone parents (often mothers) will be penalised for forming a co-residential relationship with a higher rate taxpayer, who will often be their children's father, despite the evidence about the beneficial outcomes, including greater stability for children who grow up in two-parent families."


A recent study by researchers at Cornell University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison has found that cohabitation can be equally as beneficial to a couple's well-being as marriage.

The study looked at the effects marriage or cohabitation had on a couple's health and well-being, and also at how long these effects continued to last.

According to co-author, Kelly Musick, the study found that "differences between marriage and cohabitation tend to be small and dissipate after a honeymoon period. Also, while married couples experienced health gains -- likely linked to the formal benefits of marriage such as shared health care plans -- cohabiting couples experienced greater gains in happiness and self-esteem. For some, cohabitation may come with fewer unwanted obligations than marriage and allow for more flexibility, autonomy and personal growth.”

Musick went on to say that: "Marriage has long been an important social institution, but in recent decades western societies have experienced increases in cohabitation, before or instead of marriage, and increases in children born outside of marriage. These changes have blurred the boundaries of marriage, leading to questions about what difference marriage makes in comparison to alternatives."

Changing pattern of family formation

Posted by on in Family Law

Recent figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have shown a rise in the number of single parent families with dependent children across the UK. The statistics have also revealed a large increase in the number of cohabiting couples and a decline in the number of marriages.

According to the ONS, the number of opposite sex cohabiting couples in the UK was 2.9 million in 2011 compared with 2.1 million in 2001, while at the same time the number of married or civil partner couples dropped from 12.3 million to 12.1 million. Lone parents with dependent children were 2.0 million (rounded from 1.96) in 2011 compared with 1.7 million at the turn of the century.

In 2011 there were an estimated 63,000 families consisting of a same sex cohabiting couple and 59,000 consisting of a civil partnered couple.

The decline in the  number of married couple families is consistent with both the decrease in the number of marriages since the early 1970s and with the statistically significant increase in opposite sex cohabiting couples between 2001 and 2011.


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