The number of couples between the ages of 25 and 35 has almost doubled since 1996, with figures now almost at 6m. This has led to an increase of 2.5 years for both men and women before getting married, with the average male now marrying at 30.8 and women 28.9 years old. What is perhaps most surprising in these latest figures announced by the Office of National Statistics is that the largest age group opting for cohabitation is the over 65s.

The number of marriages has been on the decline for a number of years with more and more couples appearing to be put off by the idea. However, they are taking other steps in order to secure themselves, with many law firms announcing an increase in cohabitation agreement work and further down the line more separation agreements as opposed to divorces.

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