Call us: Mon - Fri 8:30am - 7pm, Sat - Sun 9am - 5pm
Call local rate 0330 056 3171
Mon - Fri 8:30am - 7pm | Sat - Sun 9am - 5pm
Call local rate 0330 056 3171
Mon - Fri 8:30am - 7pm | Sat - Sun 9am - 5pm

Cohabitation rises by more than 20 per cent

The number of cohabiting couples in the UK has risen by 22 per cent in the last ten years, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

There are now three million cohabiting couples in the UK – despite an ONS prediction in 2010 that the number would not reach 3.3 million until 2033.

Meanwhile, the number of lone parents also increased over the last ten years, by 12 per cent. Together, cohabiting couples and lone parents make up 16 per cent of families in the UK.

According to the figures, the most common family type in the UK married couples or civil partners without dependent children. There are 7.7 million such couples, a three per cent jump since 2003.

The number of married couples or civil partners with dependent children, meanwhile, has fallen by one per cent over the same period, the only type of family to decline during that time.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

Contact us

As the UK's largest family law firm we understand that every case is personal.


  1. Andrew says:

    So more people are choosing to live together without the formal, emotional, legal and financial commitment (especially the long-term commitment) which marriage entails.

    That may be good news or bad news; but its the choice of those people which the law should not second-guess. Proper protection for the rights of children while they are children to financial support from their parents and contact with their parents (if the NRP so wishes, and he, usually he, cannot be forced in this respect) whether married or not; but beyond that no interference in their right to choose a form of relationship which can be terminated at will without future support and with their property rights determined only by the laws of property – and with of course no claim over future assets.

  2. Tulsa Divorce Lawyer Matt Ingham says:

    No surprise here. Increasingly members of the younger generations are growing to disfavor ‘traditional marriage’

  3. Luke says:

    Andrew – unfortunately that won’t happen – the government and the legal system are already desperately looking to quickly tie down cohabitees so that if necessary they can financially milk the wealthier party of their assets.

    It’s a numbers game for them.

  4. Kerry says:

    Personally I am suffering the appalling bullying and patronising cynicism of a legal system run by male judges who automatically assume I am on the make just because I am an Unmarried single mother with 2 children by a very wealthy but abusive father .
    He has gifted money towards a house now denies it & is forcing sale, he has refused shares in joint business interests & got away with it, I end up with nothing but whatever a schedule 1 possible provision at minimum level and only then if under his controls for next 10 yrs, legal debts, no assets and no confidence, but two young girls in need after 11 yrs of privations.
    3 yrs of his litigation leaves me with no potential for legal support, alone and subjected to abuse still by him as well as judges impatient at my ill prepared paperwork. CAB inadequate, where to get help?!

  5. Stitchedup says:

    2 children by a very wealthy but abusive father . – Abusive father or abusive partner?? or perhaps somebody you didn’t see eye-to-eye with so no longer love??

    “He has gifted money towards a house now denies it & is forcing sale” – gifted money so I assume no order so able to deny??? He can get an order of sale but you can object if it was your normal family home, and if you can prove he was abusive and you have custody of two young children, you will probably get occupation at least until the children finish full time education.

    “He has refused shares in joint business interests & got away with it.” – If truly joint business interests in joint names, the starting point I believe is 50% unless one party or the other can prove they have contributed more – even if not married.

    I’m no solicitor, you need advice, but a solicitor will only be able to work with what you give them, so being able to pull together evidence and relevant documentation is a must on your part.

  6. Andrew says:

    Kerry: I have nothing against you personally; but once the children are grown up nothing – as far as his assets are concerned – is precisely what you should end up with. I know it is harsh but his obligatons are to them, not to you.

    Even the infamous Law Commission Report did not propose making any changes in respect of relationships which had broken down before the law is changed – if alas it ever is – although they record that they had some letters suggesting the contrary; I can well imagine them.

    You need to plan for the day when your children are adults and your claims are at an end.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I think the problem is that some people have been led to believe that in cases where the ability to cooperate breaks down, if they divorce and make allegations of abuse, then they will get some kind of revenge on their former partner, and that this will make them happy. All it actually does is show the world how selfish and immoral you are, and that the children are being put in the middle if not neglected.

Leave a comment

Help & advice categories


Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up for advice on divorce and relationships from our lawyers, divorce coaches and relationship experts.

What type of information are you looking for?

Privacy Policy