UK's cohabiting couples 'generally happy'

Couples who are either married or living together are generally happy with their situation.

This is according to findings from the Institute for Social and Economic Research, who discovered that 88 per cent of cohabiting women and 92 per cent of cohabiting men are content in their relationship.

The happiest couples were found to be those where both parties are educated to degree level, have been together fewer than five years and have no children.

But many cohabiting couples are unaware of their lack of legal rights compared to married couples. Couples living together don't have the same financial rights and parental rights, and can experience great difficulty should they split up.

In a recent interview with The Times, Sir Nicholas Wall, president of the Family Division of the High Court, called for cohabiting rights to be strengthened so that they are equal to married couples.

He recommended that couples draw up a cohabitation agreement to protect their financial position in case their relationships turn sour.

Published on: February 14, 2011

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