New statistics released from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show a rise in cohabiting couples in England and Wales.
The ONS say that almost 10 per cent of adults in England and Wales are cohabiting couples, up from 6.8 per cent in 2002.
A cohabiting couple is classed as two people living together, but not officially engaged in marriage or in a civil partnership.
The rise is one of the strongest family trends in the UK, growing by 29.7 per cent between 2004 and 2015.
Graeme Fraser of family law foundation, Resolution, speaks about the need for advancements in law making for cohabiting couples: “These statistics should be regarded by policymakers as a wake-up call that cohabitation is a trend of modern society that is not going to go away.”
Mr Fraser calls for the “urgent introduction of safety net legislation providing legal protection” and “fair outcomes at the time of a couple’s separation, particularly for children and mothers left vulnerable under the existing law”.
“In light of the latest ONS data, reform of the law for cohabiting couples should be one of the top priorities” he continues.
Cohabiting couples are reminded that common law partners are not recognised under intestacy rules – and must have a recognised will in place to protect their assets.
A will can ensure that your most treasured possessions remain in your family, as well as naming any items you would like to go to a specific beneficiary.