Couples should not have children until they are ready to marry, says High Court judge

 

A senior High Court judge has argued that couples should not have children until they are ready to wed.

Sir Paul Coleridge, who is retiring from the bench next year after decades as a family lawyer, said cohabiting parents were less stable than married ones.

Sir Paul told the Telegraph: “I don’t think they should have children until they are sure that their relationship is stable enough to cope with the stresses and strains. If your relationship is not stable enough to cope with children you should not have them.”

He added: “There is this idea out there that it doesn’t make any difference whether you cohabit or marry [to which I say] no it doesn’t — except that one tends to last and the other tends not to last. And when you are considering what is best for children, stability is the name of the game.”

Sir Paul insisted that he was not intending to “preach morality”, adding: “But the reality of the family is very simple. If your relationship is stable enough to cope with the rigours of child rearing then you should consider seriously adding the protection of marriage to your relationship.

“You have a responsibility – you have no right to have children, you only have responsibilities if you have them.

“In the courts people talk about their rights – you have no right where children are concerned … what you have are responsibilities and duties to do the best you can for them.”

He made clear he was not saying people should not have children unless they were prepared to marry, according to the Telegraph.

The newspaper said that the Office for National Statistics had reported earlier this year that the proportion of children born to unmarried mothers in England and Wales reached a record 47.5 per cent last year.

This means that as many as 346,595 babies were born outside marriage or civil partnerships in England and Wales.

It has risen from 25 per cent in 1988. If the trend continues it is estimated that more than half of all children will be born out of wedlock by 2016.

Sir Paul, who sits in the High Court as Mr Justice Coleridge, said there was a “high level of ignorance” in the political establishment about the benefits of marriage. He praised Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, who has pressed for tax breaks for married couples, as one of the few figures willing to advocate the virtues of marriage.

Christian Guy, director of the Centre for Social Justice, said: “A lot of people don’t realise that long-term cohabitation with children is really rare – most people with children who are still together after many years are married.

“Long-term results show that there is something different about being married, it is more stable. People are bound together when they are married in a way that they are not if they are just living together.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager - Salesforce / Reports / CRM - North London - NfP

£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and reputable Not for Profit o...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger & Credit Control Assistant

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Ledger & Credit Control...

Recruitment Genius: Project Administrator

£16000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Administrator is requ...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn