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According to figures released by the Office for National Statistics on 4 October, in 1996 there were 16.5 million families in the UK which increased to 17.1 million in 2006. The proportion of married couple families has decreased over the last ten years, (accounting for 71 per cent of families in 2006, compared with 76 per cent in 1996). Over the same period the proportion of cohabiting couple families increased to 14 per cent from 9 per cent. The proportion of lone parent families increased by less than one per cent over this period. In 2006, the average number of dependent children in a family was 1.8, compared with 2.0 in 1971. Married couple families were generally larger than other family types, with an average 1.8 dependent children in 2006, compared with 1.6 in cohabiting couple families, 1.7 in lone mother families and 1.4 in lone father families. For more information see December  Fam Law.
The Red Book is the acknowledged authority on practice and procedure