The figures represents a 20 per cent increase on the 663 dissolutions in 2011. This is the first time civil partnership statistics have been published by the ONS.
It is the smallest year-on-year increase in dissolutions since civil partnerships were first introduced to UK law by the Civil Partnership Act, which came into force in December 2005. In 2011 dissolutions increased 37 per cent year on year, and in 2010 47 per cent. In 2009, dissolutions were up a hefty 98 per cent!
The ONS speculates:
“The number of civil partnerships in the UK peaked in the first quarter of 2006 at 4,869. The high numbers for 2006 are likely to be a result of many same sex couples in long-standing relationships taking advantage of the opportunity to formalise their relationship as soon as the legislation was implemented. The number of civil partnerships has since fallen to an average of1,759 per quarter in 2012.”
According to the ONS statistics, lesbian couples are more likely to dissolve their partnerships than gay men – six out of ten civil partnership dissolutions take place between women. This echoes heterosexual relationships, where women are statistically more likely to initiate divorce than their husbands.
A total of 7,037 new civil partnerships were formed in the UK last year, a number which had also risen since the previous year, but by a more modest 3.6 per cent.
Since the Civil Partnership Act first came into force, a total of 60,454 civil unions have taken place in England and Wales.