Civil Partnership Dissolutions
Family law solicitors handle all types of separations, including the break-up of civil partnership. Apart from a partner spouse dying, there are three ways a civil partnership can be ended legally: annulment, separation, and dissolution. Same-sex marriage is a relatively new area of English family law, so it is important to instruct a family solicitor who understands it well.
Family Law and Ending a Civil Partnership
You can apply to end your civil partnership if you registered it at least a year ago and can prove either:
- Two years separation by mutual agreement
- Five years separation without the other person’s agreement
- Unreasonable behaviour, including verbal or physical abuse to you or any children in your family, being unfaithful or being irresponsible with money. These criteria can be one significant incident or some less severe incidents over a period.
- Desertion, where your partner has left your joint home against your wishes for no valid reason
Seek family law advice from a reputable solicitor if you or your partner have only recently moved to the UK, particularly if your visa is dependent on your marital status. You cannot enter a new civil partnership until your current one is formally annulled or dissolved.
Petitioning to End a Civil Partnership
In a marriage or civil partnership, the person who files a movement to end it is called the petitioner. It can be beneficial to do this as you can have more control over the proceedings, but you will be the partner who has to prove the cause for dissolution is valid, and your legal costs will be higher. A civil partnership solicitor can help you decide what is the most appropriate action for your circumstances.
Annulment and Separation
You can apply to have your civil partnership annulled if either you or your partner was not over 16 years old at the time you registered your partnership, or if you or your partner was still married to or in a civil partnership with someone else.
If you are not ready to formally dissolve your civil partnership, or if it was less than twelve months since you registered it, you can apply to the family court for a separation order. You will have to prove one of the same four criteria as you would if you were dissolving your partnership, and you cannot marry or enter another civil partnership without a dissolution or annulment unless your partner has died.
How Civil Partnerships are Dissolved
The petitioner and their lawyer will draw up the dissolution paperwork and file it with the court. It will also be sent to your partner who will need to confirm they have received it. Your lawyer will make an application to court and judge will set a date for a conditional order. Six weeks and one day after the date the conditional order is pronounced the petitioner can apply for it to be finalised and, once that is complete, the civil partnership will be considered formally dissolved.
You can expect the dissolution of your civil partnership to take between four and six months, assuming that you and your ex-partner agree on things like how the children you have parental responsibility for will be raised, and how your finances and assets will be divided.
Find out more about how civil partnerships and English family law by speaking with a respected family lawyer.
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