First annual decline in marriage since 2009

Amanda Crowe Cropped

By Amanda Erskine

The Office for National Statistics has released statistics relating to marriage in England and Wales in 2013. For the first time since 2009 the number of marriages conducted in 2013 fell by 8% compared to the previous year. The statistics also show that of all the marriages conducted in 2013, civil ceremonies (those with no religious affiliation) accounted for 72% of the total. However, the number of brides and grooms marrying for the first time is still the highest category with over 75% of the total marriages in 2013.

There are many reasons why the number of marriages recorded in England and Wales have declined. More and more couples are choosing to simply live together in a committed relationship and do not feel the need to meet the expense of a wedding. More and more children are also being born to parents who are unmarried and this is a current trend which is rising in this country. However, whilst being in a committed relationship or being married does not tend to pose a problem when things are great, for couples who experience the heartbreak of separation, the situation is vastly different depending on your situation.

The idea of a “common law marriage” for unmarried couples is one of the biggest misconceptions still out there in the world. The law dealing with the breakdown of a marriage and the breakdown of a cohabiting couple  is very different. For anyone experiencing a family breakup it is important that expert legal advice is sought so it can be made clear what the position is and where a person stands in terms of assets, finances and children.

Amanda Erskine is a solicitor in the Family department at Barker Gotelee Solicitors.

Ipswich Family Solicitors – for more information on our range of legal services, please call the team on 01473 611211 or email