By Anne Barlow, Simon Duncan, Grace James, Alison Parks
Single heterosexual cohabitation is quickly expanding in Britain and over 1 / 4 of kids are actually born to single cohabiting mom and dad. this isn't simply an immense switch within the means humans dwell in sleek Britain; it's also a political and theoretical marker. a few commentators see cohabitation as proof of egocentric individualism and the breakdown of the relatives, whereas others see it as only a much less institutionalized manner within which humans convey dedication and construct their households. Politically, 'stable' households are noticeable as crucial—but does balance easily suggest marriage? at this time the legislation in Britain keeps very important differences within the method it treats cohabiting and married households and this may have deleterious results at the welfare of youngsters and companions on cohabitation breakdown or the demise of a associate. should still the legislations be replaced to mirror this altering social truth? Or may still it—can it—be used to direct those adjustments? utilizing findings which mix nationally consultant info with in-depth qualitative paintings, the authors learn public attitudes approximately cohabitation and marriage, supply an research of who cohabits and who marries, and examine the level and nature of the 'common legislations marriage fable' (the fake trust that cohabitants have comparable felony rights to married couples). They then discover why humans cohabit instead of marry, what the character in their dedication is to each other and chart public attitudes to felony swap. within the mild of this facts, Cohabitation, Marriage and the legislation then evaluates diverse thoughts for criminal reform.
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Extra info for Cohabitation, Marriage and the Law: Social Change and Legal Reform in the 21st Century
Whilst parenting is still perceived by many as best located within a married partnership (which it is assumed is ‘stable, committed and happy’), people’s views are shifting to accept those who choose to parent outside the institution of marriage. Certainly an estimated 200,000 children are born annually to cohabiting couples (Hibbs et al, 2001: 203). Marriage The BSA survey suggests that marriage is, across the board, still viewed as an ‘ideal’ type of relationship; only nine per cent dismissed marriage as ‘only a piece of paper’ and 59 per cent agreed with the statement that marriage is the ‘best kind of relationship’ (although 40 per cent did not).
4 Per cent who agree ‘people who want children ought to get married’, by sex, education, religion and marital status, 1989 and 2000 % who agree Change 2000/1989 1989 Base 2000 Base By religion Church of England Catholic Other Christian No religion 78 73 81 57 476 142 185 447 65 55 66 38 923 274 497 1181 –13 –18 –15 –19 By marital status Married Cohabiting Separated or divorced Widowed Not married 77 43 52 85 51 833 73 64 98 205 62 23 40 80 38 1426 240 370 360 584 –15 –20 –12 –5 –13 By highest educational qualification No qualifications 79 CSE/GCSE or equivalent 61 O level/GCSE or equivalent 58 A level or equivalent 57 Higher education below degree 74 Degree 67 534 99 218 141 162 111 62 48 47 45 57 52 894 281 618 319 412 402 –17 –13 –11 –12 –17 –15 Source: BSA survey, 2000.
This is likely to reflect the growing exposure of different groups within society to cohabitation. As one of our interviewees, Nigel, put it: I’m sure there’s more acceptance because of more people going the same way, you have to accept that’s what’s happening. ’ According to Phillips, these views are the result of it being ‘human nature to make excuses for ones you love, to be concerned for their welfare and reluctant to pass judgements’ (Phillips, 2001). At one level, it is the case that it is increasingly common for people to have children outside marriage, and clearly common behaviour patterns will influence attitudes and vice versa (Haskey, 2001: 5).