Have we fallen out of love with marriage? (from Bella magazine)
A recent survey by Girl Guiding UK found that only one in five girls sees getting married as a mark of success in life.
So Bella asks…
Have we fallen out of love with MARRIAGE?
Marilyn Stowe, 53, family solicitor and resident legal expert on ITV1’s This Morning
Not so long ago, getting hitched was taken for granted and cohabiting without a marriage licence was seen as ‘living in sin’. These days social attitudes have changed, but getting married is so expensive that people are put off the idea.
Modern couples see no reason to rush up the aisle and many are wary of a broken marriage and the financial implications of a divorce settlement.
Statistics demonstrate that there are as many unmarried families as there are married.
Let’s face it, living together is easy – you just pool your income and set up home without any legal ties. It’s a lot simpler and cheaper than entering into a legally binding relationship.
I’m not surprised that many girls don’t see getting married as a priority.
Marriage used to provide a woman with financial security and enable her to give her children a future, but today we have careers and are doing well on our own.
We can also have kids without the social stigma of being an unmarried mum.
I believe many are avoiding marriage because of the ‘sharing principle’ – that if the marriage ends, the wealthier partner (often the man) should split their assets equally.
What’s more, because of the current state of our law, the wealthier party can walk away scot-free from a cohabiting relationship, often leaving mother and children with little or nothing. It’s a no-brainer, isn’t it?
Adele Parks, 43, bestselling author of romantic fiction
I never planned to marry. I grew up a 1980s feminist, scared that marriage would restrict and destroy my independence.
As I’ve grown older, cynicism is a luxury I can no longer afford and I see that it’s the young who are wild enough to think they can go it alone and reckless enough to want to. I’ve come to realise that knowing someone intimately, living day in, day out with that person, has nothing to do with restriction – it’s all about personal growth.
Marriage is back in fashion. After 40 years of decline, the number of weddings in 2010 was up by 3.7 per cent on the previous year. And 100,000 divorced people remarried in 2011. They clearly weren’t so embittered or disillusioned with the institution that they didn’t want another crack at it.
Perhaps the recession has created a desire for the stability it offers. Or maybe the mother of all romantic weddings – that of William and Kate – inspired us. Some two billion people worldwide watched it. We hung bunting and threw parties, proving we believe in marriage.
People tie the knot for emotional, legal, social and economic reasons or simply, like me, as a public demonstration of love and commitment.
Marriage is a cornerstone of our society, offering security to spouses and children.
Besides, data suggests that marriage increases our chances of having more sex, a successful career, a longer life and better physical and mental health. So what’s not to love?
This article appeared in the 8 January 2013 edition of Bella magazine
Photo by Laura Ferreira via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence
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Marilyn Stowe is the senior partner in Stowe Family Law, which has offices in Yorkshire, Cheshire and London. With more than 30 years’ experience handling divorce cases and family law proceedings she is regarded as one of the most formidable and sought after divorce lawyers in the UK. In 2012, Marilyn became one of the first solicitors to qualify as a family law arbitrator.
All persons mentioned in the scenarios are fictitious: details have been deliberately changed in order to protect identities and other confidential circumstances of my clients. All advice and information on this blog including posts written by guest authors, is given only as a general guide to the operation of the law on the date of publication. Readers must place no reliance whatsoever on the content of this blog and must always obtain their own legal advice. Marilyn Stowe, Stowe Family Law LLP and guest authors accept no liability whatsoever arising as a result of reliance upon its content.
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