More than 90 per cent of married parents will still be together in five years’ time compared with just three-quarters of cohabiting families, new research has found. Pro-marriage campaigners say the study proves that an official commitment ‘boosts stability and acts as a buffer against problems for children’. Figures compiled by the Marriage Foundation suggest that on average 1.5 per cent of married parents split annually, compared to five per cent who live together.

Based on these rates, taken from Office for National Statistics (ONS) data and a UK Household study, it calculated that over the next five years, 93 per cent of married couples with dependent children would stay together. By comparison, only 75 per cent of the relationships involving cohabiting parents would survive.Report author Harry Benson, Research Director at the Marriage Foundation, suggested there was more ambiguity in a relationship without official vows but marriage offered a ‘clear signal of commitment’.

‘Relationships thrive when there is clarity and a plan,’ he said. ‘Living together and having children together on their own is not sufficient evidence of a clearly decided and agreed plan to spend the rest of their lives together. We all want our relationships and families to succeed. But the single biggest enemy of our success is ambiguity. I can be as committed as I like to you but if I’m not absolutely clear that you are as well, it’s bound to affect our relationship.’

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