More babies born to unwed parents for first time EVER as Stacey Solomon leads growing trend

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Cohabitees do not have the same rights as married parties. In particular, there is no right to maintenance or capital for the unmarried parent with care of a young child, just child maintenance at the statutory rates and possibly capital to provide accommodation until the child is 18. A Cohabitation Agreement can help – and legal advice can get the best deal whatever the circumstances.

The Office for National Statistics reports more than half of all babies who arrived in 2021 were born outside a marriage or civil partnership for the first time in history

When Stacey Solomon had fourth baby Rose in 2021, she was part of a growing trend in families.

That year, for the first time, more than half of babies – 51.3% – were born outside a marriage or civil partnership.

Rose was one of 624,828 live births in England and Wales, the Office for National Statistics reports.

Her parents Stacey and Joe Swash got hitched the following July and Stacey is now pregnant again.

The ONS says unwed mums being in the majority follows a long-term trend of declining marriage rates and increasing numbers of cohabiting couples in recent decades.

But the full impact of the pandemic on marriage and civil partnership rates is not yet known.

Harry Benson, research director of the Marriage Foundation, believes the rise was “almost certainly a knock-on effect of the ban and restrictions on marriage during lockdown in the previous year”.

He said many couples had to delay their weddings in the pandemic and he expects “to see some sort of rebound in births within marriage” in future.

Some 36.5% of all births in 2021 were registered to parents living together, the ONS said, compared with 31.2% in 2011.

New mothers aged 30 and over were almost twice as likely to be married or in a civil partnership (60.5%) as those under 30 (31.2%). The average age of mothers giving birth rose to 30.9 years, up from 30.7 the previous year.

But the average age of dads stayed put at 33.7 years.

Stillbirths were most common in women aged 40 and over, with a rate of 5.9 per 1,000 births.

This was followed by women under 20, at five stillbirths per 1,000 births.

The highest stillbirth rate was among babies from the Black ethnic group, at 6.9 per 1,000 births.

Stillbirths remained more common in the most dep-rived areas of the country.

The rate in the 10% most deprived areas in England was 5.6 per 1,000 births, compared to 2.7 per 1,000 in the 10% least deprived.

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