The office for National Statistics has recently reported that cohabitating couples are the fastest growing family type. Apparently, it is now the second largest family type and has doubled its figures from 1.5 million in 1996 to 3.3 million families in 2017. The explanation, I presume is that these days people are choosing to cohabit instead of marrying or at least to cohabit before marriage but I wonder why that is the increasing trend. Is it that people are afraid of marriage these days? Is it that living together before marriage is not frowned upon as much as it used to be and well… its just easier?
The breakdown of a relationship or marriage is not easy for anyone to deal with. Emotions run high and confusion sometimes reigns. Before rushing to take action, it is important to remember you need time to come to terms with what is happening and you should not take major steps for example, putting the house on the market until you are both calm and in the right frame of mind to discuss such matters.
The start of a New Year historically sees an influx of new clients making contact with us family lawyers to start off the divorce process. One of the first steps for a lawyer is discuss and consider the reasons for the relationship breakdown so that the necessary paperwork can be prepared. As family lawyers, we’re quite used to hearing reasons varying from infidelity, verbal and physical abuse right through to a lack of compassion, love and affection being demonstrated by one party to the other. After 20 odd years of practice, having heard some very unusual, and sometimes quite ridiculous, reasons, I honestly didn’t think there were any I hadn’t heard.
The world is getting much smaller these days and there are an increasing number of British ex pats living and working abroad. Despite the attractions and delights of foreign countries and the often much improved weather, sadly this does not mean problems in a couples’ marriage are avoided. In fact, it can often be the case that adjusting to a new culture and living far away from family and friends starts the downwards spiral towards separation and ultimately divorce.
It is a fact of life that in most cases, when two people end their relationship, one or both are hurt, upset and angry. These are very strong emotions and are pretty normal and understandable. Where it becomes a problem is when these emotions are allowed to spill over and impact upon the children involved. I am frequently contacted by parents who feel they are in need of advice about something that their ex has or hasn’t done and how this affects their rights to have contact to children. Most have no intention of taking matters through the courts, it’s not something they can afford or even want to do. As an experienced family lawyer I know that except in serious circumstances, Court proceedings should really be seen as a last resort.