Nearly 80% of same-sex divorces in England and Wales were between women

Same sex divorces are on the up.
Same sex divorces are on the up.
Image: Reuters/Mark Blinch
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Same-sex couples have been allowed to marry in England and Wales since 2014 but some of those have already ended in divorce. And the overwhelming majority of these divorces (78%) were among female couples, according to recent data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The first divorces between same-sex couples were recorded in 2015 but the number of same-sex divorces increased fivefold between 2015 to 2016. Last year alone, there were 112 same-sex divorces in England and Wales.

The ONS included divorces that stemmed from marriages that took place abroad, but were legally recognized in the UK. The figures also include marriages that were converted from civil partnership (for those marriages, the duration is based on the date the civil partnership was formed).

However, the statistics agency didn’t give a reason why these couples divorced.

The figure is too small to begin with and that makes it difficult to draw any real conclusion from the data. For example, it’s unclear if in 2016 there were higher rates of divorce among female couples because they were marrying at higher rates. That being said, the latest marriage figures from the ONS for same-sex couples show that of the 4,850 marriages formed between same-sex couples in 2014, 56% were female couples.

The average age of divorce for same-sex couples in 2016 stood at 40.4 years for men and 38.2 years for women. Unreasonable behavior—such as cheating—was the most common grounds for divorce among all same-sex couples (96%).