Civil partnerships – to have and let go?

Year Published: 2012

Civil partnerships were introduced in 2005 to give same-sex couples the same legal rights as married couples. According to figures released today, the number of civil partnerships (between same sex couples) has risen over the last year by some 6.4%.

Unfortunately the rise has been more than over-shadowed by the number of dissolutions over the same period – which has risen by a staggering 28.7% in a year. That figure is now close to the figure for heterosexual couples who divorce. It also indicates that the length of the average civil partnership is lower, with couples separating much sooner than the average married couple. Interestingly, the statistics are skewed against women – almost 65% of dissolutions were between women.

Gay couples tend to “marry” later then heterosexual couples – with averages ages of 40 years and 38 years for men and women respectively.

This ‘delay’ in forming partnerships regularly means that these couples are likely to have accrued more assets before the civil partnership, such as housing, savings and pensions and therefore tend to have more potential assets, which could be subject to dispute in the breakdown- even with a short partnership.

It is vitally important to obtain competent and sympathetic legal advice and representation in the event of a breakdown, but also potentially to obtain advice before making that commitment, such as entering into a pre partnership, or pre nuptial agreement before the partnership is legally made. Either or both of these can help to prevent disputes arising and can greatly assist in sorting them out afterwards.

For more information on this or similar issues, please contact a member of the Family team on 01625 442100.

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