Study casts doubt on promotion of marriage

A new study has led to suggestions that marriage between parents of young children does not make their relationship more stable.

Conducted by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), the research has cast doubt over the government's aim to promote marriage to decrease the rate of parental separation.

It found that relationships were almost just as likely to break down if couples are cohabiting.

While evidence showed that cohabiting couples are more likely to split before a child reaches five years than married couples, the research suggested that there are more factors at play such as planned pregnancy and income.

When the factors are eliminated, only two per cent more cohabiting couples are likely to part.

Ellen Greaves, research economist at the IFS, commented: "The evidence suggests that much of the difference in relationship stability between married and cohabiting parents is due to pre-existing differences between the kinds of people who get married before they have children, compared to those that cohabit."

Cohabiting couples can draw up a cohabitation agreement so that if they do split, assets can be divided legally.

Posted by Christopher Evans

Published on: July 8, 2010

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