Couples who live together before marriage are at significantly greater risk of divorce, a recent report says.

 “Those couples who have lived with each other are noticeably (around 15 percent) more likely to divorce; couples who have previously lived with a different partner before getting married are around 45 percent more likely to divorce,” report authors Dr. John Hayward and Dr. Guy Brandon in Cohabitation: An Alternative to Marriage? released by a British Christian think tank, the Jubilee Centre,

About 55 percent of cohabitations now lead to marriage, while 45 percent end in separation, they said, adding that even those couples who do separate and go on to other live-in arrangements, later marrying their second (or subsequent) partner, are far more likely to divorce.

According to researchers, the findings raise questions about the purpose and possible effect of live-in relationships.

Cohabitation in the UK is more becoming like a “trial marriage” period, yet a majority of live-in partners are ending up married.

Since the early 1980s, cohabitation overtook marriage as the most common form of first live-in relationship. Marriage remains by far the most common family form of choice overall, the report concluded.