08/05/2011 21:54 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Half Of All Parents Separate By The Time Children Are 16

Half of all parents separate by the time children are 16 Getty

Nearly half of all children can expect their parents to split up by the time they turn 16, according to figures from the Centre for Social Justice.

The same report reveals births outside marriage are now at their highest level in two centuries, with 46% of babies being born to unmarried mothers.
And whilst fewer than one in 30 couples lived together before marriage before the Second World War, it is now the norm, with nine out of 10 partners choosing to do so.

The Centre for Social Justice's executive director Gavin Poole has said that cohabiting is a key factor in the breakdown of the family. He claims: 'Current high levels of cohabitation are a key factor in the rise in family breakdown in our country and this paper shows that we have not been here before.

'Marriage and commitment tend to stabilise and strengthen families and cannot be ignored. The peculiarly high levels of family breakdown found in Britain are at the heart of the social breakdown which is devastating our most deprived communities.'

Strong words! But do you agree?
Do you think that marriage DOES strengthen relationships, or is having a ring on your finger not that important? Is it modern society and values that makes relationships more flimsy?

More on Parentdish:
Children from broken homes are more likely to have behavioural problems