Civil partnership dissolution

Ending a civil partnership is always a difficult time for all involved. Decisions need to be made about how each party can start to move forward on a practical footing, along with the emotional considerations that always accompany the end of a relationship. The right legal advice at this point can help to protect your rights and ensure that informed decisions can be made throughout the dissolution of the civil partnership. If you are also parents, you will need to make arrangements for your children that are in their best interests, and we can help you to achieve this by offering expert support at every stage of the process.

At Moore Barlow, our team of family law solicitors are known for providing expert legal advice on all aspects of civil partnership dissolution, helping you to achieve the best possible outcome from the situation. If you are part of a couple who wish to proceed with dissolving a civil partnership, some of the considerations that need to be settled can include:

  • The division of any assets, such as properties
  • Arranging separation agreements, financial orders and the final order dissolving the civil partnership.
  • Issues around children, such as residency, contact, maintenance arrangements and parenting decisions

It’s important that you seek expert legal advice as early in the process as possible if you are seeking to dissolve a civil partnership, to help protect your interests.

How to dissolve a civil partnership

The process of dissolving a civil partnership depends on your situation.

If you have been civil partners legally for more than a year, you will need a dissolution order from a court in order to legally end the union. For the order to be granted, it must be proven that the relationship has broken down irretrievably and on at least one of the below grounds.

  • Your partner has behaved unreasonably, in the eyes of the law
  • You and your partner have lived apart for at least two years and both agree to the dissolution
  • You and your partner have lived apart for at least five years, if only one of you wants to dissolve the partnership
  • Your partner deserted you at least two years ago

Is there a difference between dissolving a civil partnership and divorce?

Dissolving a civil partnership is very similar to the process of divorce, as both are legal ways to end a relationship. However, there are slight differences when it comes to applying to the court with grounds for civil partnership dissolution.

Adultery is not considered to be grounds for the dissolution of a civil partnership in the same way as it is for divorce. All other grounds for dissolution are the same as with divorce.

What counts as unreasonable behaviour when dissolving a civil partnership?

In simple terms, unreasonable behaviour is considered to be behaviour by your partner that means you can’t be expected to continue living with them. This can include:

  • Physical or verbal abuse towards you or your children
  • Mental or physical cruelty towards you or your children
  • Being financially irresponsible
  • Drunkenness

Other grounds for you to dissolve a civil partnership can rely upon periods of separation, (i.e. at least two years living apart if you both agree to the dissolution and five years living apart if your partner doesn’t agree to the dissolution).

How long does it take to dissolve civil partnerships?

The process of dissolving a civil partnership usually takes between 6 and 12 months, it can be longer, depending on your circumstances. If your partner does not agree with the dissolution, you may be required to wait for a period of time before applying for a dissolution order (up to five years of living apart). However, in the meantime, you could try and agree a separation agreement , which will help you to make the necessary arrangements from a legal and practical point of view, until a final dissolution order can be settled.

We can help you with either a separation agreement or a or a dissolution, to help you start the legal process that will mean you can start moving forward with your life.

Why choose Moore Barlow?

With our teams of family solicitors based in Southampton, Richmond and London, we can offer all of the expert legal support you need when it comes to dissolving your civil partnership. We’re known for our compassionate and understanding approach to these matters and have years of experience in helping people to dissolve civil partnerships and make the decisions they need to start moving on from what can be a very sad and emotional time.

With offices in Southampton, Richmond, London, Woking, Guildford and Lymington, our expert team offer specialist support to clients nationwide. Contact us today for more information.

I am in a civil partnership, can I get divorced?

A civil partnership can be ended in a similar way to marriage but instead of divorce it is called dissolution.

On what grounds can I dissolve my civil partnership?

A civil partnership can be dissolved on the ground that it has irretrievably broken down by relying on one of the following facts:

  • Your partner has behaved unreasonably;
  • You have lived separately for at least two years and you both agree to dissolve the civil partnership;
  • You have lived separately for at least five years;
  • Your partner has deserted you.

Are there any differences between ending a civil partnership and ending a marriage?

There is only one key difference, civil partnerships cannot be annulled on the basis of non-consummation and cannot be dissolved on the basis of adultery unlike marriages. There are also some differences in the terminology used during court proceedings

My partner has cheated on me by having an affair; can I dissolve my civil partnership?

You can rely on the fact that your partner has behaved unreasonably by having an affair in order to prove that the civil partnership has irretrievably broken down.

Why can’t I rely on my partner’s adultery to end our civil partnership?

Adultery cannot be relied upon to bring a civil partnership to an end but instead it can fall within what the court would consider to be unreasonable behaviour.

How do I begin to dissolve my civil partnership?

The first step can differ from couple to couple; some may wish to explore reconciliation while others may be ready to make a court application to dissolve their civil partnership. It is always useful for both partners to first take independent legal advice so they become familiar with the procedures involved and the paperwork that must be completed.

How do I sort out issues in relation to our home, savings and other assets when our civil partnership is dissolved?

The finances can be dealt with before, during and even after the civil partnership has ended. It is usually better to deal with this aspect as soon as possible. In the course of dissolving the civil partnership, an agreement over the finances can be negotiated and ratified by the court or if necessary the court can determine these issues.

How do I sort out issues in relation to the children when our civil partnership is dissolved?

Issues in relation to the children, such as who they live with and how much time they spend with each of you, can also be dealt with before, during and even after the civil partnership has ended. These issues are dealt with under separate court proceedings from the dissolution of the civil partnership but in the first instance, an agreement can be reached directly with the other party if possible.