Are "shot-gun" civil partnerships responsible for the rise in dissolutions?

8 July 2011

Celebrations are continuing in New York where, later this month (24 July 2011) it will be possible for same sex couples to marry in the state of New York for the first time following the state Marriage Equality Act coming into force.

Here in the UK, civil partnership (gay marriage in all but name) has been legal since the Civil Partnership Act 2004 came into force in December 2005, the focus has more recently been on the number of couples calling time on their relationships.

In 2010 dissolutions of civil partnerships increased by 44% since 2009. This increase is perhaps inevitable. In the same way that an increase in marriage provides a bigger pool of people who may wish to divorce, the more couples who enter into a civil partnership, the more people there are who may wish to dissolve that union. Alternatively, the heady rush of freedom to formalise their union may have led some people to enter a civil partnership early, leading to the current spike in dissolutions. It will be many years before it will be possible to directly compare the rate of divorces and dissolutions.

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