Civil Partnerships in decline

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February 11, 2015

The number of civil partnerships formed in the UK in 2013 was 6,276, a decrease of 11% from the 7,037 recorded in 2012, according to new figures released today by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

“I think it’s interesting that these figures for 2013 show a slowdown in civil partnerships”, says Marilyn Stowe, Senior Partner at Stowe Family Law. “Same sex marriage became legal in the UK in 2014, so perhaps this decline in civil partnerships in the run up to the change in the marriage laws is simply a demonstration that many couples decided to wait because they knew the right to marry was just around the corner.”

According to the ONS, the breakdown of percentages across the UK in 2013 saw civil partnerships decreasing by 12% in England (5,381 partnerships), 7.7% in Scotland (530 partnerships), 1% in Northern Ireland (100 partnerships), while there was an increase of 2.3% in Wales (265 partnerships).

The number of civil partnership dissolutions granted in England and Wales in 2013 was 974, an increase of 20% since 2012 when there was 809 dissolutions. ONS figures indicate that 59% of these dissolutions were female couples (576 dissolutions), with 41% being male couples (398 dissolutions).

The Civil Partnership Act 2004 came into force in December 2005 to allow same sex couples to formalise their relationship under the law.  Since 2005, the total number of civil partnerships formed in the UK up to the end of 2013, is 66,730. Since 2014, same sex couples have had the option to choose to enter into a civil partnership or get married. This choice of options is not currently available to heterosexual couples and there have been recent calls that the law should be amended to address what is seen by many as an anomaly.

Same sex couples in civil partnerships whose relationships have broken down can split formally in a process that mirrors a divorce through an application for dissolution. They have the same rights as couples in a heterosexual relationship with regards to applying for financial arrangements such as pension sharing, property transfer and maintenance.

Stowe Family Law is the UK’s largest specialist family law firm, with offices in Grays Inn, central London, Leeds, Harrogate, Wilmslow, Hale, Wetherby and most recently in St Albans.

Read the ONS report here

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