Decline in Civil Partnerships

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The Office of National Statistics has released new figures showing the number of civil partnerships formed in the UK in 2013 has decreased by 11% compared with the previous year. 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 Civil Partnership Act 2004 came into force in December 2005 to allow same-sex couples to formalise their relationship under the law. The Government Equalities Office predicted that by 2010 between 11,000 and 22,000 same sex couples would have entered into a civil partnership. The figures published by the ONS show that by the start of 2010 these numbers were far exceeded with over 79,000 civil partnerships in Great Britain.

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 came into force on 29 March 2014 and since then, same-sex couples have had the option to choose to enter into a civil partnership or get married. The decline in civil partnerships is likely to be attributed to this, as many couples may have decided to wait until it was clear whether they would have the same right to marry as heterosexual couples do.

Amanda Crowe is a divorce solicitor at Barker Gotelee, Solicitors in Ipswich.

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