The Office of National Statistics released figures today which show the number of civil partnerships formed in the UK in 2013 was 6,276 which was a decrease of 11% from the 7,037 recorded in 2012. This trend could be due to the fact that same sex marriage was made legal in the UK in 2014 and couples may have been deciding to wait for the change in marriage laws as they knew the right to marry was soon to be introduced. However, the ONS statistics also show that the number of civil partnership dissolutions granted in England and Wales in 2013 was an increase of 20% since 2012.
The Civil Partnership Act 2004 came into force in December 2005 which allowed same-sex couples to formalise their relationship under the law and since 2014, same-sex couples have been able to choose whether to enter into a civil partnership or get married.
Same-sex couples who were in civil partnerships which have broken down can separate formally in a way which mirrors the divorce process which is called dissolution. The only ground for dissolution of a civil partnership is that the partnership has irretrievably broken down. This is proved by establishing the existence of one of four facts:
- Your partner has behaved in such a way that it would be unreasonable to expect you to continue to live with them.
- Your partner has deserted you for a continuous period of two years or more.
- You have been living apart for two years or more and your partner agrees to the dissolution of the civil partnership.
- You have been living apart from your partner for five years or more.
Same-sex couples in civil partnerships have the same rights as couples in heterosexual relationships with regards to applying for financial arrangements on separation such as pension sharing, property transfer and maintenance.
For advice and guidance on civil partnerships and financial arrangements, please contact our specialist Family Law lawyers on 0161 927 3118 for a free 20 minute consultation.