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Poll finds couples unprepared

15 March 2013

THE vast majority of married and cohabiting couples have received no form of relationship education, such as marriage-preparation classes, a poll suggests.

The findings of a survey of 3500 adults in England and Wales, carried out by OnePoll on behalf of the Marriage Foundation, were presented at a conference in London last month by Deborah Jeff, Head of Family Law at the law firm Seddons.

Ms Jeff said that 83 per cent of respondents to the survey "did not access any relationship education or marriage preparation before, or in the first few years, of marriage or cohabitation". Ninety-two per cent of respondents who had been through a divorce said that they had received "no pre-relationship preparation".

Respondents were "considerably more likely" to have sought pre-marital or pre-cohabitation advice if their income exceeded £50,000 a year, Ms Jeff said.

Of the respondents who were cohabiting, the reasons given for not marrying included the cost of a wedding (42 per cent); having not been proposed to by their partner (25 per cent); and the belief that marriage was not necessary (28 per cent).

Sir Paul Coleridge, a High Court judge, who launched the Marriage Foundation last year (News, 4 May 2012; Interview, 20 July 2012), told the conference that, "at current rates and on current projections, a child born today has only a 50-50 chance of living with both its birth parents when [he or she is] 15."


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