Deborah jeff pp survey final


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  • Par 1: marriage is still an aspiration for the greater part of the respondents, not so out of fashion as we had imagined. (The 56% includes those who are divorced or widowed i.e. have been married). ALSO – 66% of cohabitees also answered yes, so it’s also an aspiration for those who may begin their relationship by living together.Par 2/. Employment - I found this a welcome surprise. If I am right in assuming the majority of the student respondents were the younger ones, it demonstrates that marriage is not so “old fashioned” after all.Par 3/ Unemployed:Could this relate to being disillusioned at their state in life, so not asking them at the best time? If struggling to support themselves and perhaps a family, idea of cost of wedding not so appealing.
  • When asked what best marks the transition from being boyfriend/girlfriend to partners, in front of their peers and parents, 45% said living together and 30% said getting married. Only 12% thought this was best represented by becoming parents or buying a house together (9%).From 18 years up to 55+, the percentage of people who thought getting married best marked the transition increased almost equally with every age group started at 22% and finished at 47%, whereas the percentage of people who thought living together marked the transition best decreased every time by approximately the same amounts but opposite, to marriage, starting with 51% and falling to 31% by the end.Generational differences of opinion.
  • Par a/. Cost of wedding --- KEY POINT – people are willing to wait until they can have their dream wedding. They could choose to marrycost effectively at a register office but they want the PARTY that goes with it, that seems to be higher in priority.Par b/ Just under 10% of men are waiting to be asked, but a third of female cohabitees are. Marriage is not yet thoroughly modern in this regard!Par f/. Again, an excuse – your housing needs are same whether renting or buying.28 % of cohabitees think marriage is not necessary (28%) and one in five simply haven’t got round to it. Ed Miliband famously said in an interview he was ‘too busy to get married’ but like many people, got round to it in the end.There’s a real risk that in waiting to get married, people build up commitments and obligations, and have children, without the formal commitments or agreements that can protect them.Excuses seem to be found for not quite having got around to marrying but respondents do seem to be able to afford to have children together, a far greater financial commitment for life, aside from the moral and emotional commitment.  To my mind this indicates that the reasons given for delay are just excuses because society no longer deems it necessary for a couple to be married in order to have all, or at least some, of the rights, responsibilities and benefits that used to exclusively accompany marriage.So people are delaying weddings – indeed conflating marriage and big expensive weddings, which reminds me of Sir Paul’s comment at the launch of TMF last year. That connection between marriage and a big, expensive wedding, seems to have increased in recent years, perhaps to the stage where it’s less about the solemn vows the couple are making to each other and more about the party.
  • KEY POINT: The transition to being a couple (moving in together) does not match up with the factors that show signs of commitment. Para a/ Overall here, massive change in social values within one generation or so.Para C/ There were no remarkable discrepancies between the views of men and women on these. THEN MOVE TO NEXT SLIDE
  • Our survey found that 50% of young people (18-24) see living together as the best marker of the transition to from being boyfriend/girlfriend to being seen as a couple by family and friends. But living together is not rated so highly as a way of showing commitment. The data in this slide shows cohabitees see having a baby as the strongest way of showing commitment.While starting a family can be a deliberate intentional commitment, it isn’t always. One of the Marriage Foundation’s concerns is that people can ‘slide’ into relationships, taking on commitments without ever making a clear decision that they have a future together as a couple. These commitments make it harder to leave unsuitable relationships, and then children arrive within relationships that are inherently fragile. We may wish to reflect on the extent to which greater recognition of the importance of public legally recognised intentional acts of commitment – something that is at the heart of marriage – is vital in securing the prospects of modern marriage.If, then, being seen as a couple is marked by an act (moving in together) which is NOT seen as a particularly strong means of expressing commitment, and having a child is seen by many as a stronger demonstration of commitment than marriage, what does this mean for the shared financial commitments that these couples may have?
  • Full question: Would you be happy to bring up children in a couple relationship without some legal agreement or rules as to how assets and savings would be shared if the relationship broke down?Par 1/.Perhaps because the women are traditionally, but not exclusively, the homemakers so they want more security for themselves and their children.Par 2/. Perhaps because they have fewer years left to support themselves financially OR because in this age group there are more traditional views – maybe it’s a generational difference again.Although having a child together is seen as a sign of commitment, many relationships outside marriage where there are children still break down. While couples say that they are happy to bring children up without legal agreements or rules about how assets and savings would be shared, this can create problems. While courts can safeguard children’s interests, unmarried partners can be left with very little financial protection as recent case law has demonstrated all too well. Marriage as a commitment brings enforceable obligations – other forms of commitment don’t bring the same level of obligation.
  • Para 3 – More commitment?Para 4 – open to suggestion of why this is. Maybe we are more relaxed about sharing our money when there is more of it?
  • Par 1/. Communication issue again – people tend to ignore or put off difficult issues they are aware should be discussed. SO, THEY SHARE FINANCES, BUT DON’T TALK ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS IF RELATIONSHIP ENDS.Par 3/. Implies that the married couples don’t consider it more important to have these conversations, or that they find it just as difficult to discuss the issue as everyone else.The reality is that many of our clients may have entered into shared financial commitments with little thought about the implications if the relationship goes wrong. Many believe in the myth that their interests are protected by so-called common law marriage. Many are ill-equipped to deal with difficulties in their relationships. Many find that the implied commitment of starting a family does not see them through the early years of a relationship when breakdown is most likely.Why is the myth of common law marriage so prevalent?Maybe because it is a defacto marriage. Relationship of couple living together will look the same from outside as that of Mr & Mrs Smith next door who are married; orThey are not talking about it and not taking advice.
  • Par 2/. So more respondents now believe there should be a level-playing field between the marrieds and cohabitees in terms of entitlement on separation, representing a massive social shift in thinking.Par 3/ They don’t think of the consequences if it goes wrong, they rely on the assumption that they will be protected as a cohabitee. Fingers crossed and hope for the best.
  • Brings us to the question of prenups and postnups.The full question was:Is the fact that courts can rule on how a divorcing couple’s assets are shared more likely to encourage or discourage marriage? Par 2 – hopefully suggests it’s the marriage which is the priority and not the financial consequences.Par 3 and 4/. Is concern regarding the courts powers therefore related to where money is tight? Where there is less money, people are more worried about how the court would divide it?
  • RELATIONSHIP EDUCATION PART BEGINS:Still shows much room there is for pre-relationship education all around the country and across the generations.
  • Church of England run a Marriage Preparation Course, other faiths offer similar.COE course:Session 1 – Communication.Then:CommitmentResolving conflictKeeping love aliveShared goals and values.I know from friends who’ve taken the course, the difference it’s made to their marriages. Friend of mine said – “It doesn’t make it bullet proof, but I do wonder how we would have coped without it”.
  • TO CONCLUDE READING STATS:The results of our survey demonstrate a clear need for greater communication between couples both pre-marriage and pre-cohabitation about their future financial commitments to each other and what they intend to happen financially in the event of relationship breakdown.  I would like to find a way of seizing that opportunity with appropriate advisory bodies to educate couples in the skills needed to give relationships the best chance of success. I’m sure that by working with The Marriage Foundation, we can access such groups to bring those communication skills to couples.  This, I believe, is where Seddons with The Marriage Foundation may have the greatest impact as a result of these findings.  And it reminds me of a question often asked of me by people when they learn what I do. They want to know - what do I believe makes a marriage most likely to succeed? And from my experience to date through seeing what causes it to go wrong for clients, the key components for success seem to me to be - “communication, counselling and compromises”. {BACK TO SCRIPT – SECOND HALF}
  • Deborah jeff pp survey final

    1. 1. Deborah JeffFounding Partner, Family Department
    2. 2. UK Cohabitation and Marriage Survey• A unique nation-wide survey of marriage, cohabitation and commitment, commissioned by Seddons in collaboration with The Marriage Foundation.• Undertaken on our behalf by OnePoll between December 2012 and January 2013.• 3,500 adults polled across 9 regions in England and Wales.
    3. 3. UK-wide SurveyNational survey results for our 13 key questions arecross-referenced by additional data such as:• Gender• Region• Age• Relationship status• Employment status, partners employment status;• Salary, partners salary• Dependents.
    4. 4. Demographic• Covered nine regions of the UK• 63% female and 37% male. Of these respondents, 48% were already married, 21% were cohabiting and the remainder were single (17%), in a relationship (9%), divorced (3%), widowed (1%) or separated (1%).• Age range: 18-55+• Some 69% of married respondents had children (between one and four), compared to 19% of cohabiting respondents and 5% of singletons. Just over 1% of divorced respondents had children.
    5. 5. Questions we wanted to explore:• Why is the myth of common law marriage so prevalent?• Are shared financial commitments important for a couple?• Do people plan for them?• Do they influence marriage decisions?
    6. 6. Do you hope to be married one day?• More than twice the number of people who didnt want to be married in their lives (23%), did aspire to marry in future (56%), with both genders of respondents answering almost identically (Yes: F-58%,M-53%, No: F23%,M-23%). A quarter of men polled said they werent sure, compared to a fifth of women.• Employment status range, the highest proportion of respondents by grouping who said they aspired to be married was by far Students at 73%, with Employed people at 60% and Homemakers at 40%.• After the Retired group, the Unemployed group least likely to want to get married (just 1 in 3).
    7. 7. What shows you’re a couple to family and friends?Respondents answered:• 45% - living together;• 30% - getting married;• 12% - having their child;• 9% - buying a house together.
    8. 8. If cohabiting, why not get married?Reasons given for not tying the knot: a. Cost of the wedding (42%) b. 25% overall were waiting for their partner to ask them, c. 20% just hadnt got around to it yet d. 28% thought marriage wasnt necessary. e. Around 12% - been put off by other peoples divorces. f. 15% - because they couldnt afford to buy a house together. g. 11% - didnt like the expectations that being married to their partner would place on them.
    9. 9. What is the greatest display of commitment in a couple?a. Having partner’s child.b. Closely followed by: getting married, buying a house together and including them in your will .c. Moving in together and opening a joint bank account , lesser signs of commitment to a relationship.d. There was a leap of up to a third in the proportion of people from the age groups within 18-44, to the age groups within 45-55+, who rated the highest way of demonstrating commitment within a relationship by getting married.e. Buying a house together unanimously popular across all age ranges, and having a joint bank account together doubled in importance for the age group 55+, from all other age groups.
    10. 10. Markers of Commitment % rating 10 out of 10 as way of showing commitment within a couple Cohabiting Married Aged 18-24Getting married 35 49 41Moving in together 14 11 13Buying a house together 30 23 25Having a baby 51 41 47Buying a pet together 5 4 6Opening a joint account 7 11 9Including them in your will 20 20 20
    11. 11. Would you happily have children with your partner without a pre-,post- or co-nup?• Split down the middle with 53% saying "Yes" and 47% saying they wouldnt. Slightly more men than women said they would be happy to do this (Yes- M:56%,F52%), compared to 48% of women who said they wouldnt and 44% of men who said they wouldnt.• Nearly 60% of 35 to 44-year-olds would be happy to bring up children this way, but this percentage falls to 44% by 55+.• Response figures were generally the same between people who already had children and those who did not.
    12. 12. Should couples share finances?• 82% thought it was important in a relationship, as opposed to just 18% who said they didnt think it was important.• Almost all married and cohabiting couples shared most of their official financial commitments (current account, mortgage, household bills),• In terms of savings, married couples who shared were nearly double the percentage of those who just lived together.• People who earned more than £50k p/a were significantly more likely than those on lower salaries to share a current or savings account with a partner.
    13. 13. What finances are you sharing?• The three biggest commitments were: a. 49% - a joint bank account ; b. 41% - a joint mortgage or rental agreement; c. 40% - household bills.• Lower priority bills by importance were joint credit cards at 27% and loans for which both partners are responsible (11%).• Respondents were twice as likely to share a credit card with a partner who earned more than £80k p/a as they were with a partner who earned £25k p/a or less.
    14. 14. Have you discussed the fate of shared finances if you were to part?• 82% had not discussed how their shared financial obligations would be dealt with in the event of a break-up. This figure was equal for men and women. (Yes-F:18%,M:19% -- No- F:82%,M:81%).• Likelihood of discussing obligations decreases with age from 18-24 at 21%, down to the last age group of 55+, by which time this had fallen to just 14%.• Percentages were similar regardless of whether in a married, cohabiting or non-cohabiting relationship. They were also similar regardless of whether they had children or not.
    15. 15. Should separating spouses get more of an ex-partner’s assets than a cohabitee?• Nearly a third of respondents thought that married people should be entitled to a greater share of each others assets and future income than cohabitees;• But: 42% thought this should be the same whether you are married or cohabiting.• Around a quarter of people (26%) said they didnt know how the legal system governing who gets what on separation should operate.
    16. 16. Do divorce courts’ powers to decide howassets are divided put people off marriage?• Nearly a third - courts powers on divorce were more likely to discourage marriage.• 58% who said it wouldnt make any difference to them, or they didnt know. Figures for this were roughly the same for responses from men and women.• Earners of £50k+ p/a believed that courts ruling on how assets are split on divorce was more likely to encourage marriage.• More than three times the number of respondents whose partner was unemployed thought court judgement on assets would discourage them from getting married, compared to those whose partner was employed.
    17. 17. Could you learn to relate better?• 69% said "Yes", with a quarter of those admitting there were issues they should discuss but dont or cant, a quarter saying they could learn to handle disagreements better, and a fifth saying they could learn to understand or support each other better.• Figures were broadly the same for both sexes when asked these questions; except for 35% of men saying they couldnt learn to relate better, compared to 28% of women who said they couldnt.• Interestingly, figures were largely consistent across the whole spectrum of age groups.
    18. 18. Preparation for a Union• 83% did not access any relationship education or marriage preparation before or in the first few years of marriage or cohabitation.• Divorced respondents = highest proportion among all groups at 92% with no pre-relationship preparation.• 25% of students (the highest proportion) said that they had sought advice.• Respondents were considerably more likely to have sought pre-marital/cohabitation advice when earning 50k+ p/a.
    19. 19. “We are deeply concerned that so fewpeople access relationships education at anearly stage in the relationship. It is goodthat most people recognise that they canlearn to relate better, and we arecommitted to promoting better access torelationships education.”Sir Paul Coleridge, The Marriage Foundation