The Office for National Statistics has published its latest survey of trends in living arrangements within the UK (which can be found here).
The survey covers a wide range of areas including families (with and without dependent children), people living alone and people in shared accommodation, categorised by size and type of household.
Some of the key points arising out of this recent survey are as follows:-
- The number of cohabiting couple families continues to grow faster than married couple and lone parent families, with an increase of 25.8% over the decade 2008-2018, making cohabiting couples the fastest growing family type in the UK.
- The number of same-sex couple families has grown by more than 50% since 2015, with more than four times as many same-sex married couple families in 2018 compared with 2015.
- Married and civil partner couple families were the most common family type in the UK in 2018, representing two-thirds of all families.
- There has been a rapid increase in the number of young adults living with their parents. One in four young adults (20 to 34 years of age) were living with their parents in 2018.
Sophie Saunders from the Population Statistics Division at the ONS comments: “the number of families and households in the UK has continued to rise in line with the growth of the UK population over the past decade. However, the ways that people live have been changing…”
The results from this survey highlight the need for the law to catch up with recent changes in the way that people live and their chosen family set-up – particularly in respect of cohabiting couples.
Resolution continues to campaign for change for cohabiting couples to provide them with greater protection. They stress in their Manifesto that ‘it is possible to live together with someone for decades and even to have children together and then simply walk away without taking any responsibility for a former partner’.
Furthermore, 2 in 3 cohabiting couples in the UK are unaware that there is no such thing as a ‘common law marriage’.
It is therefore vital that you seek advice at the earliest opportunity so you are fully informed as to what rights and protections the law provides depending on your family set-up and what steps you could take to further protect yourself and your family.
If you have any queries regarding any of the topics discussed in this article please contact the Family Team on 01603 610911.
Note: The content of this article is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice. Specific legal advice should be taken in any specific circumstance.