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family law specialists

Civil Partnership Dissolution, Divorce & Separation

The law for dissolution of a civil partnership mirrors more or less the law in respect of divorce.  A couple must have been in the civil partnership for more than one year before they can start dissolution proceedings. The only ground for dissolving a civil partnership is that the civil partnership has broken down irretrievably and to prove that one of the following facts must be proved.

  • Behaviour
  • Two years’ separation with consent
  • Five years’ separation
  • Desertion

In many cases there will be more than one of these facts that are applicable.  Careful thought has to be given and advice taken on which is the most appropriate.

If a client wishes to dissolve their civil partnership straight away, it is necessary usually to base this upon the fact of behaviour.  If a client wishes to pursue a dissolution based upon separation, it is only possible to start the proceedings once the appropriate period of separation has passed.  For example, if a client wishes to rely on the fact they and their partner have been separated for two years, it is only after the second anniversary of their separation that the client can send the dissolution papers into the court for processing.  There is no need to log the date of separation with any formal authorities but it is useful to agree that with your partner and to note it down for your own records.

Although the reasons upon which a dissolution can be sought are somewhat outdated, dissolution of the civil partnership need not be an aggressive move.  It is always possible to try and agree the contents of a dissolution petition with your partner beforehand in order to smooth the process over.

It is rare that the grounds set out in a dissolution petition affect any other aspect of the case.  The dissolution process is seen very much by the courts as simply a means of bringing the civil partnership to an end.  Nevertheless, the whole issue is emotionally charged and we are always sensitive to this and guide our clients in a way that feels comfortable to them.

To start a civil partnership dissolution, we need your original civil partnership certificate or a certified copy of this (obtainable from the Registrar of the district in which your civil partnership took place).  We will also need some background information from you which we can discuss at either our initial meeting or a later meeting.

Provided dissolution proceedings are undefended and straight forward they will take on average 6 – 8 months.  However, if there are disputes about the children and/or finances that will delay the final stage of the dissolution.

The vast majority of cases are dealt with by the courts on paperwork alone and there is very rarely any need to attend court about the dissolution itself.  It is only when there is a dispute about the children and/or finances that an appearance at court may be necessary.