New figures from the UK Census have revealed that more and more couples are living together without being married.
According to family law organisation Resolution, these figures once again highlight the urgent need to give legal rights to millions of couples in England and Wales.
The recent data, published by the Office for National Statistics, shows that households containing one cohabiting couple jumped by half a million in ten years from 1.8 million in 2001, to 2.3 million in 2011 – a rise of nearly 30%.
And yet, despite this growing social trend, the current laws do not offer these couples the same protection as married couples upon separation.
Resolution is calling for new laws in England and Wales, for couples who have lived together for five years or more –or for less time in cases of exceptional hardship. For cohabiting couples with children, the law would offer protection regardless of how long they have lived together.