ENGLAND – Judge: House prices are undermining marriage

A High Court judge today warned of the “real danger” that high property prices were deterring couples from marrying and fuelling relationship breakdowns.

Sir Paul Coleridge said the cost of housing and weddings were among the reasons why couples put off getting married.

He said the result was that people were instead “sliding” into commitments of other sorts, such as living together, which were more prone to end in a break-up.

A conference tomorrow organised by the Marriage Foundation — which was set up by Sir Paul — will discuss a new survey which found that although most people want to get married, nearly one in five London couples say they have yet to do so because they cannot afford to buy a home. A large proportion also said that getting married was “too expensive”.

Sir Paul, who presides at the High Court over family law cases involving relationship breakdowns and child welfare, said marriage remained a “popular and cherished institution”.

But he added: “Too many people are forced to delay marriage while entering into significant financial commitments and starting families and are ill-equipped to manage the risks this entails. When we ask people why they have not married they come with a range of answers: the cost of weddings, waiting to be asked, not getting round to it, not thinking it’s necessary, or the cost of housing.

“There is a real danger here. People can slide into ever greater commitments without ever making a decision to be a couple.” He added: “Without such commitment, the build-up of constraints can lead to the breakdown of the relationship.”

The survey for the Marriage Foundation, carried out by West End law firm Seddons, found that 40 per cent of couples in the capital said they were delaying marriage because it is too expensive to proceed. Sixteen per cent said they have yet to marry because they cannot afford to buy a home together. Nearly six out of 10 Londoners said they wanted to get married.


SOURCE: London Evening Standard

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