A senior High Court Judge, Sir Paul Coleridge, (about whom I have blogged before) has recently said that couples should only have children together, if they are prepared to get married. He stated that if couples can deal with the stresses and strains of bringing up children, then they should consider having the protection of marriage.
The judge has also criticised parents in dispute, for putting their own needs above those of their children, and not thinking about what isbest for the children. However, the judge has since stressed that he is not saying that couples should only have children if they get married, but states that if the relationship between a couple is stable enough to cope with the rigours of child rearing, then they should marry.
Sir Coleridge is head of the think tank The Marriage Foundation. It has published research suggesting that children of unmarried couples are more likely to suffer from a break-up than those of married ones. It is also a Foundation which feels that the Government is more interested in pushing the law on gay marriages, than emphasising the benefits of traditional heterosexual marriages. The judge has been reported to have accused politicians of being afraid of speaking in favour of traditional marriage
So is he correct? It seems that Sir Paul Coleridge appears to be generally regarded as being out of touch with public opinion, with many people who are not married, taking the view that their children are no worse off than the children of couples who are married.
The number of people who are cohabiting, rather than getting married is increasing, and so it is likely that the number of children born out of wedlock will also increase. Perhaps the emphasis should really be on ensuring that the needs of children who have to suffer the consequences of their parents’ break-up are properly met.
It also seems to me that the most important part of the judge’s statement is that any parents, be they married or not, gay or straight, should only consider having children if they feel they can look after them, and put the children’s needs above theirs.
At the Law House we can advise on all aspects of children and family law whichever type of family unit you are from. Please contact Shakeel Mir on 020 8956 2566 or firstname.lastname@example.org.