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Dissolution rate for civil partnerships increases

By Principal Lawyer, Family Law

According to The Times, the number of “gay divorces” has risen by 20% in the past year, with as many as 794 dissolutions of Civil Partnerships.

It has been suggested civil partners suffer relationship breakdowns following the 7 or 8 year mark, as do heterosexual couples in divorce.

However, it is important to remember that The Civil Partnership Act 2004 was only introduced in 2005 and therefore Civil Partnerships have only been in existence for the last 8 years in any event.

The Act granted civil partnerships in the United Kingdom with rights and responsibilities identical to civil marriage.

Further, it has been suggested that more women wanted to end their civil partnerships than men, which is supposedly a similar pattern to marriage.  According to statistics, by the end of last year, 6.1% of female civil partnerships had ended, compared with 3.2% of male partnerships.

In my experience, divorce and dissolutions are instigated by both men and women and I do not see a particular pattern that more women want to end their relationships than men.

It is reported that since the first civil partnership ceremonies in 2005, the total number that have taken place is 60,454. This far exceeds the projections made by the government at the time that the bill was passed in 2004, as it is understood that ministers forecasted fewer than 90,000 people would be in civil partnerships by 2050.

To obtain a Dissolution, you will need to prove to the Court that your civil partnership has irretrievably broken down.  The Court will accept one of the following facts as proof:

• That your partner has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to continue living with them

• That your partner has deserted you for at least two years

• That you and your partner have lived separately and apart for two years and he or she consents to a dissolution

• That you and your partner have lived apart for a continuous period of at least five years.

The facts that a petitioner can rely on are exactly the same as in Divorce proceedings, save for the fact of adultery which cannot be relied on.  Thereafter, the dissolution procedure is almost identical to the procedure to obtain a divorce, save that the first order in the proceedings is called a conditional order and the second order is called a final order, as opposed to decree nisi and decree absolute.

It is also vital to consider how the financial assets upon the dissolution of a civil partnership are going to be divided and not just the dissolution itself.  It is important that any financial settlement reached upon dissolution, dismissing financial claims is drafted into a legally binding Consent Order.

By Family Law Solicitor Georgina Chase

For more information about Dissolution, please email one of our Specialist Family Lawyers at or call us on 0800 916 9055.



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