Ending a Civil Partnership
If you are thinking of ending your same sex relationship, you may be considering a civil partnership dissolution. If your relationship has come to an end, you will need to apply to legally terminate your partnership in court. It is a similar method to getting a gay divorce, if you are in a same sex marriage.
What is a Civil Partnership Dissolution?
A civil partnership dissolution is the only method of terminating your legally-recognised relationship, other than if you or your ex-partner dies. As a civil partnership is one of the methods of legalising a same sex relationship, the dissolution the correct legal procedure to terminate it.
A civil partnership means both partners have additional legal rights and responsibilities, which they would not have when only living together. Therefore, you and your ex-partner must reach a fair and reasonable agreement when dissolving your relationship. To do this, you must apply to court.
If you are not ready to go ahead with the finality of a dissolution, a legal separation agreement might be preferred. This means you no longer have to live with your ex-partner and can appropriately divide both your assets, without legally dissolving the relationship.
However, if you want a civil partnership dissolution, there are some requirements to consider before proceeding.
Conditions of a Civil Partnership Dissolution
When ending a civil partnership, there are certain conditions you must meet before you can apply to the courts.
Firstly, you must have been in a civil partnership for at least one year before it can be dissolved. Next, you must show the relationship has irretrievably broken down based on one of these four grounds:
- Unreasonable behaviour, including physical or mental abuse, unfaithfulness and financial irresponsibility
- Desertion, where if your partner has left you without reason or agreement
- You have lived apart from your partner for more than two years, and they agree to dissolve the relationship.
- You have lived apart from your partner for more than five years, though they do not have to agree to dissolve the relationship.
Once you have decided on one or more grounds for civil partnership dissolution, you should agree how to divide your assets with your partner before applying to court. In addition, if you have children, you will need to make an agreement for their care.
Children & Assets in a Civil Partnership
Just like with divorce, it is important to create a fair, legally-sound agreement with your ex-partner when it comes to your children and assets.
Firstly, you will need to form a children’s agreement to decide how your child or children will be cared for. You should also consider child maintenance law, as your ex-partner may need to make payments to you.
Other financial provisions must also be made when ending a civil partnership. You and your ex-partner will need to form a reasonable agreement to divide money, plus any assets such as property.
If you and your ex-partner cannot come to an agreement regarding your children and finances, the courts may request you use a mediator. Mediation involves a separate party intervening to resolve your dispute.
Applying to Court for a Civil Partnership Dissolution
To terminate a civil partnership, you must fill in an application and send it to your nearest court which manages dissolutions. The initial application form costs a £550 court fee to process.
There are then two main stages of dissolving your civil partnership. You will initially apply for a Conditional Order, explaining on which grounds you have chosen to end the relationship. Your ex-partner must agree to these grounds. However, there are many dissolution cases in which the two parties do not agree on the grounds for termination. This means you will need to attend court hearings, where the judge will make a decision on your case. Hearings can be very costly and will make the dissolution process much longer.
The second stage of a civil partnership dissolution is known as the Final Order. You can apply for this six weeks after the date of your Conditional Order, but you should not wait longer than twelve months, as this delay could damage your case.
If the court is happy to proceed, you will be granted the Final Order. This will legally dissolve your civil partnership. In addition, you are free to enter another civil partnership or marriage.
Civil Partnership Solicitors
It is very important to seek the proper legal advice from civil partnership solicitors before making your application. Civil partnership solicitors can:
- Ensure your application is completely corrected and documents are submitted on time
- Help to divide financial assets between you and your ex-partner
- Organise children’s arrangements and child maintenance
- Put you in contact with a mediator
- Represent you in court if necessary
At Major Family Law, we understand the breakdown of a relationship can be emotionally distressing, time consuming and expensive. Our expert civil partnership solicitors are able to efficiently and effectively manage your case to minimise both time and costs. From reaching your own agreement to full court representation, our team is happy to assist. Contact us today and receive our specialist knowledge and advice on civil partnership dissolution.