Before we look at the law of marriage, we shall con-sider some of the social trends which lead one to question whether marriage is still considered to be a necessary social institution. First, statistics show that increasing numbers of couples are choosing to cohabit rather than marry and, since illegitimacy no longer carries any social stigma or legal con-sequences, one of the main social reasons for mar-riage has disappeared. Secondly, it seems that those who do marry wait rather longer than they used to — less than 13 per cent of women now marry in their teens. Thirdly, one in three first marriages and one in two second marriages break down. Although the statistics are not so readily available it can be assumed that similar numbers of relationships where the couple is cohabiting also fail. The law of marriage must be seen in the context of these trends.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.