ONS publishes statistics on civil partnership seven years after legislation

News|October 9th 2013

A total of 794 civil partnerships were dissolved in England and Wales last year, according to new statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

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.

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  1. Andrew says:

    Not surprising. Did anyone expect that they would all live happily ever after?

    Adultery is not a ground, so what is the usual? Unreasonable behaviour?

    I know that the first same-sex marriage in Connecticut – two women – ended in mutual allegations of serious domestic violence!

  2. Tulsa Divorce Lawyer Matt Ingham says:

    Here in Oklahoma USA the laws do not allow for same sex civil partnerships.

  3. Tim Groves says:

    The new statistics show that 3.2% of male civil partnerships are ending in dissolution, whereas it’s 6.2% of female civil partnerships.

    42% of heterosexual marriages currently end in divorce in the UK, so people entering civil partnerships are still statistically much more likely to stay together.

  4. Rosemary Auchmnuty says:

    This is by no means the first time statistics on civil partnerships have been published by the ONS. They have published them every year since the passing of the Civil Partnership Act 2004, with useful commentaries!

  5. Luke says:

    Tim, I assume you are taking the mickey here no ? If you are not you have no understanding of statistics at all.

    When you say:

    “42% of heterosexual marriages currently end in divorce”

    you are talking about the lifetime of a heterosexual marriage – civil partnership has only been around 8 years !

    The breakup rate overall looks like it is going to be pretty similar – with lesbians particularly likely to break up – which is again not surprising as women are particularly keen on getting divorced.

  6. Paul says:

    In Oklahoma USA the law provides for a man to marry his horse. Or was that Texas?

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