Statistics published this month by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows that a record number of UK citizens are deciding to cohabit rather than marry.
The astounding figures show an increase of 100% in the past 15 years, with 3 million of us now living together out of wedlock.
It is thought that these numbers will continue to rise, as couples choose a less formal relationship status ahead of marriage, which it is thought may be the minority relationship status by 2050.
The news highlights the fact that many cohabiting couples are totally unaware that they have virtually no legal rights under current UK law, reports the Huffington Post.
Of course, if a couple stays together this will have few consequences, but as the divorce figures show, relationships are now less and less 'till death do us part'. In the event of a split, married couples are protected by the law, which essentially provides for an 'equal split' of property and assets.
Cohabiting couples are afforded no protection in UK law. Although cohabiting couples with children will still need to meet a financial agreement relating to the ongoing care of dependents, the law will not make a provision for the lesser earning partner, which could mean they end up with very little to live off.
This situation is eased if couples jointly own their property, as the equity split is then determined. However if one cohabiting partner moved in with another, the law can be particularly brutal in the event of a break up, even many years down the line and even if contributions were made to bills and running costs. In these circumstances a share of equity may only be awarded after an expensive legal case.
The Law Commission has already highlighted the need for new law in this area back in 2007, and judges are in favour too.
In a recent case the Supreme Court ruled that Patricia Jones was entitled to 90% of the value of a property bought in 1985 with her cohabiting partner. This overturned a previous Court of Appeal ruling that after 26 years he be entitled to 50% of the equity.
Jonathan West is head of family law at firm Prolegal:
"This is a complex area of law which has just become a minefield... I do have some very grave concerns" he told the Financial Times.
New Cohabitation Statistics Highlight the Need for Urgent Law Reform? (Huffington Post)