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New research from the Marriage Foundation: Unmarried parents more likely to separate

New research from the Marriage Foundation: Unmarried parents more likely to separate

A study by the Marriage Foundation think-tank has claimed that partners who marry before having children are almost twice as likely to remain together as those who marry after they have had children. Those who started families but never wed were almost three times as likely to separate.

While three quarters of couples who get married before starting a family are still together by the time the oldest child takes GCSEs, only 44% of those who marry afterwards manage to stay the course.

Sir Paul Coleridge, the former High Court family judge who set up the Marriage Foundation in 2012, claimed that the study showed that it was a “myth” that cohabitation was as stable as marriage. The research also said that among women who married before their first child, 82% with a degree stayed together, only marginally above the 74% of non-degree educated women.

Research Director of The Marriage Foundation Harry Benson commented: “While it is right that we have done away with the social shame of having children outside marriage, we should not lose confidence in the value of crystallising commitment before starting a family. The message of this research is clear. For any couple thinking of having children, their best chance of staying together in the long run is by getting married first.”

US research reaches similar conclusions

In the United States research has concluded that the very act of deciding to get married is helpful in making a relationship last, especially for men. The “slide or decide” theory suggests that those who end up slipping into living together because it is more convenient, then start a family because they have reached that stage in life, but never actually make a firm commitment to be together, are at considerable risk of separation. While women derive feelings of commitment from sharing a home, men are less likely to, the research suggests.

Call for a “families” Cabinet post

The Marriage Foundation is calling on Government to appoint a Minister for Families as they do in France and other countries. The Foundation would also like to see a tax and benefit system that supports marriage and sustained relationships and a fund to promote relationships for both children and adults.

Solving family and relationship disputes through mediation

Sometimes a difficult marital situation can be resolved through mediation, rather than going all the way to a family law court. Our expert team at IBB can help both parties reach an amicable settlement that protects the interests of everyone involved.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of family law, are considering divorce proceedings or a trial separation, or want to draw up a pre or post-nuptial agreement, call our family law, divorce and mediation solicitors in absolute confidence on 01494 790058 or 01494 790047. Alternatively, email us at familylaw@ibblaw.co.uk.