Civil Partnership Dissolution is the term used to describe the termination of a civil partnership, and is a procedure similar to divorce. The grounds for ending a civil partnership (where same-sex couples have obtained legal recognition of their relationship) are similar to those available to married couples, with the exception of adultery.
Our experienced family law solicitors can assist you with the process of obtaining civil partnership dissolution and guide you through the more tricky aspects such as financial and children arrangements.
Civil partners will be treated in the same way as spouses in legal matters including finances, property rights, inheritance tax, social security and pension benefits, and also the ability to get parental responsibility for a partner’s children. If you have chosen to live with one another, but not enter into a civil partnership, then you will be treated, in law, in the same way as a heterosexual cohabiting couple, see unmarried couples (link).
Eligibility for Civil Partnership Dissolution
You are eligible for civil partnership dissolution if:
- You have been a civil partner for at least one year.
- You can prove that your civil partnership has irretrievably broken down.
To prove that your civil partnership has irretrievably broken down you have to prove one of the following:
- Your civil partner has behaved in such a way that it would be unreasonable to expect you to go on living together.
- Your civil partner has deserted you for a continuous period of two years.
- You and your civil partner have lived apart for two years or more and your partner consents.
- You and your civil partner have lived apart for five years or more whether or not your partner consents.
Ending a Civil Partnership
Ending a civil partnership, broken wedding ringsWhen you have decided that you wish to end your civil partnership the dissolution begins with an application to the court in the form of a ‘Petition’ giving the reasons why you are applying, and to show your civil partnership is definitely over – i.e. that it has ‘irretrievably broken down’.
If either of you have children, you will also require a form called Statement of Arrangements for Children in which you tell the court what plans you have made for the children once the dissolution is final.
It is often a good idea to obtain your civil partner’s prior consent to a Petition being filed. Your family law solicitor may be able to reach agreement over what form the Petition should take, which may help to keep things amicable throughout the proceedings.
Once the Petition is filed the process then follows the same course as a divorce, typically taking between three and five months to complete. The court can inquire into the facts alleged by either party and if satisfied on the evidence that the civil partnership has broken down irretrievably, a civil partnership dissolution order can be granted.
Financial Arrangements Following Civil Partnership Dissolution
There are no hard and fast rules regarding your financial rights in the breakdown of a civil partnership and there will often be a range of possible solutions to dividing the assets. It is highly recommended that you use a family law solicitor to assist you with your financial arrangements, which can be complex and may take time to complete. See our Property & Finances page for more information.