Written evidence from David Butterfield [HAB0095]


I would like to make four points…..


       It is important to recognise that couples who are cohabiting have made the choice not to marry. Making the financial rights of marriage automatically available to them is like compelling them to be married  but without taking the life-long vows of marriage.


       53% of children who are 5 years old or under whose parents are cohabiting will have experienced the separation of their parents whereas for married parents this is only 15%.


       Granting legal rights to cohabitees will encourage cohabitation. Given that statistics reveal that cohabitation is much less stable than marriage it would lead to an increase in relationship and family breakdown which would be costly in terms of people’s well-being as well as financially.


       If there is a general belief that cohabiting couples have similar or identical rights to those who are married, the answer to this is to raise people’s awareness of this and not to make a change to the law which would undermine marriage.


July 2021