Home»Divorce Information»Civil Partnerships And ‘Divorce’: How Are Same-Sex Couples Faring?

Civil Partnerships And ‘Divorce’: How Are Same-Sex Couples Faring?

same sex marriage and civil rightsWhile the United States hasn’t made any hard data available yet on the success rate of civil unions compared to those of traditional marriages, the UK has released a new study specifically targeting the success rate of civil partnerships, which became legally recognized in 2005.

According to the findings, same-sex couples saw a surge in dissolutions in 2012 indicating a seven-year itch similar to that of heterosexual couples.

(Dissolutions carry the same legal weight as when a spouse in a traditional marriage decides to file for divorce.)

The Telegraph notes that figures from the Office for National Statistics also showed that lesbian couples were “markedly more likely to dissolve civil partnerships than gay men.”

The highest chance of dissolution, according to ONS, generally occurs between the four-to-eight-year window in which a couple is together.

Overall figures indicate that — over a seven-year period — 60,454 gay and lesbian couples have formed civil partnerships (120,908 people).

The government expected to have between 11,000 and 22,000 people in civil partnerships by 2010, indicating a much larger than expected embrace of the legal recognition.

Actual Success Rate Thus Far

Combined, England and Wales showed a 20 percent surge in the number of dissolutions that occurred from 2011 to 2012. However, as attorney Randal Buckley points out, that doesn’t tell the whole story of the same-sex couple dissolution rate.

According to the ONS statistics, of those 60,454 civil partnerships, only 1,807 have resulted in dissolution, meaning that just three percent of same-sex couples have legally called it quits thus far.

Buckley attests that “the 20 percent rise in dissolutions is not a result of the myth of the ‘7-year itch’ but merely a predictable increase consistent with the rise of LGBT seeking this legal recognition.

One factor that the ONS study did not touch on was the amount of civil partnerships that went the do-it-yourself divorce (or dissolution) route versus those that ended up in litigation. So for now, we can draw the conclusion that same-sex couples are faring better than married couples, but we still have little clue about the hostility of breakups for such relationships.

(It can get quite heated in the heterosexual world.)

Also, to be fair, the data ONS provided, though insightful, isn’t very extensive. After another five or six years, there will be a clearer picture of how same-sex couples are truly faring compared to their heterosexual friends. One thing to keep in mind: in 2007, there were just 41 dissolutions. In 2012, there were 794. That’s a massive increase.

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