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Credit Crunch To Blame For Rise In Same Sex Divorce

Number of civil partnerships dropped


A Sheffield family law expert says the credit crunch could explain the fall in civil partnerships and rise in same sex dissolutions.

New figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the number of couples entering a civil partnership has dropped 18 per cent – from 8,728 in 2007 to 7,169 in 2008. Dissolutions, the equivalent to a heterosexual divorce, have increased fourfold – from 42 to 180.

Alison Fernandes, from the Family law team at Irwin Mitchell in Sheffield, said: “While the figures are disappointing, it is not surprising to see that the number of couples entering a civil partnership have fallen and those seeking dissolution are increasing. 

“Gay couples face the same pressures as heterosexual couples and alongside traditional causes of relationship breakdown such as falling out of love and infidelity, couples are also facing the effects of the credit crunch. 

“Couples are likely to delay entering a civil partnership until they feel more financially secure and those who are in a civil partnership are likely to be feeling the strain of financial pressures with worries of redundancy and belt tightening.

“In the summer months there is usually a slow down in people seeking legal advice on relationship breakdown.  However at Irwin Mitchell we have seen a rise in new client enquires.  Concern about financial behaviour is an increasingly common reason for seeking advice and this is likely to increase.”

Since the civil partnership law was introduced, 33,965 couples have taken advantage of it.

In Yorkshire the number of civil partnerships has dropped by over 50 per cent since 2006 and 18 per cent from 2007 (to 496 civil partnerships in 2008).

In South Yorkshire Sheffield sees the highest figures for civil partnerships with 61 in 2008 a fall of 10 per cent from 2007.  Barnsley is the only place in South Yorkshire where figures for civil partnerships have risen over the past year, albeit from a low base (23 in 2007 to 28 in 2008). In Rotherham, civil partnerships have fallen by 58 per cent from 2007 to 2008 (from 24 to 10 in 2008).