Taking the Plunge: Perceptions of Risk-Taking Associated with Formal and Informal Partner Relationships

11 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2012

See all articles by Mavis MacLean

Mavis MacLean

University of Oxford - Department of Social Policy and Social Work

John Eekelaar

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law

Date Written: March 27, 2012

Abstract

Given the disparity in the protection provided by the legal framework to those who marry and those who cohabit, and recent discussion of the lack of awareness of these differences, this paper sets out to examine perceptions of risk amongst those entering into partner relationships with and without the formal status of marriage. In this small qualitative study we draw on personal interviews with 20 men and women aged between 25 and 40, who were identified through an ONS Omnibus sweep and agreed to talk to us about their attitudes to marriage and cohabitation, and in particular the risks they thought were associated with entering into either relationship. We expected that assessment of risk would be related to civil status. But this was not the case. Both the men and women we spoke to consistently related risk to gender, and in particular to motherhood. The interviews were carried out in late 2003 and early 2004.

Keywords: family law, child law, marriage, cohabitation

Suggested Citation

MacLean, Mavis and Eekelaar, John, Taking the Plunge: Perceptions of Risk-Taking Associated with Formal and Informal Partner Relationships (March 27, 2012). Child and Family Law Quarterly, Vol. 17, No. 2, pp. 247-257, 2005, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2029662

Mavis MacLean (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Department of Social Policy and Social Work ( email )

Wellington Square
Oxford OX1 2ER, OX1 2ER
United Kingdom

John Eekelaar

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law ( email )

Oxford
United Kingdom

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