Considering having children with your partner? The best advice is to get married first, according to the authors of a new study.
A survey of 1,800 mothers of teenage children, conducted by UK organisation Marriage Foundation, revealed that couples who tie the knot before getting pregnant are 70% more likely to stay together.
In fact, unmarried couples who had children were three times more likely to split before their children reached their teens.
Interestingly, women who waited until they were married before having their first baby tended to be an average four years older than unmarried mums.
Study author Harry Benson commented: “It barely seems to matter if women are younger or older, degree educated or not; so long as they make a plan for their future and marry before starting a family, they have a really good chance of making that relationship last. It stands to reason that there’s one system that works best. It’s one that worked for years.”
According to Marriage Foundation, of the mothers who were cohabiting at the time of their first child’s birth and never took the decision to marry, only 31 per cent had avoided family breakdown by the time their child took their GSCEs.
Mr Benson added: “While it is right that we have done away with the social shame of having children outside marriage, we should not lose confidence in the value of crystallising commitment before starting a family.
“The message of this research is clear. For any couple thinking of having children, their best chance of staying together in the long run is by getting married first.”