Co-habitating couples split up more frequently.
Does anyone stay together "'til death do us part" anymore?
London's Daily Mail reports that co-habitating couples who never marry (think: Brad and Angelina) split up more frequently than married couples. Granted, that might not be saying much considering the divorce rate: in both the U.S. and the U.K., about half of marriages end in splitsville.
But apparently not slipping a ring around your finger when you share the same toothbrush holders means a breakup is all the more likely. Kids seem to complicate the problem—in the UK, half of co-habitating couples with a child break up before the kid's fifth birthday, versus one in twelve couples who are married with a kid. Could married couples be staying together for the sake of the kids? Could some couples just be more traditionally-minded than others?
Perhaps something about marriage isn't working for couples and the prevalence of unmarried couples and babies born out of wedlock is being reflected in Britain's laws, granting them more legal protections a la divorce court. For examples, in the U.K., "common law" couples who own property in both their names are considered to own the property equally.
Perhaps Britain's unmarried couples are saying to themselves, "Why stay together if we're unhappy when our assets are legally protected, anyway?"