Assess the Reasons for the Changes in Marriage and Cohabitation

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Over the last forty years there have been dramatic changes in the patterns of marriage and cohabitation. Marriage refers to the legal contract between individuals that creates kinship. Yet, cohabitation is when two people live together as a couple without being married.
The patterns of marriage have transformed a lot over the past forty years. In 1972 480,000 couples got married; however since then the number of marriages in England and wales has declined with only 244,710 couples marrying in 2005. Similarly, the patterns of cohabitation have varied as in 1986 only 12% of women were in a cohabitating couple, and now around 2.2 million families are cohabitating couples both with and without children. These patterns have changed for several reasons such as expenses, less social expectations, job opportunities, higher rates of divorce and major changes to people’s attitudes towards marriage.
Financial issues are a contributing factor as to why the rate of marriages is declining and why cohabitating is become even more popular. Initially, the average cost of a wedding is £25,000 which is often a drawback for couples deciding to marry, hence why there is an increase in couples cohabitating. However there are even more financial issues for married couples, if the couple decide to part it means the divorce will have to go through a legal system which is both time consuming and costly. Unlike a marriage, if a cohabitating couple choose to go their separate ways there aren’t any legal issues and it is easier to end the relationship which is something that appeals to people to become part of a cohabitating couple.
Linking to legal issues, the dramatic changes in the patterns of marriage is because of the increasing rates of divorce. Less people are marrying because of the rates of divorce, couples become more wary of marrying based on the assumption that 39% of couples…...

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