In the past few weeks it has been announced that the United Kingdom has a record high number of co-habiting couple families.
Figures in early November published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), show that co-habiting couple families in the United Kingdom have reached 3.2 million – an increase of 29.7% in the past decade alone.
To add to this, there are around another 3 million co-habiting couples without families.
It’s a huge number and shows us just how much society has changed. For many of us beyond the first flushes of youth we can recall that there was a strong conservative stigma associated with unmarried couples living together and having children ‘outside wedlock’ as many would describe it was extremely difficult for those involved.
Social attitudes have changed greatly in the past couple of decades but what is alarming is, despite this, the law has not moved on to reflect this.
Here at Bowsers we have said before that too few people are unaware that they have no legal protection if their relationship fails.
We would like that to change and we believe it makes sense if the law accommodates itself to the fact that co-habiting couple families are the fastest growing family type in the country.
However, the law can often move very slowly and it will disturb many reading this to hear that even now it is possible to live under the same roof as someone for many years and to have a family together and then leave without taking any responsibility for a former partner if the relationship breaks down.
Obviously, this can cause huge distress in some lives, particularly in cases where one of the couple has given up or reduced their work to raise children.
Co-habitation and families by such couples is a trend that will continue to grow, but the rights of those involved in such a relationship are not going to change in the imminent future.
Only by seeing a good local solicitor when the relationship is on steady ground, obtaining sound legal advice about the best way to protect oneself, can co-habitees avoid the turmoil that affects so many.
We hope the Fenland public in this position take note and, more importantly, take action.