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Civil Partnerships

A Civil Partnership provides couples of the same sex with rights and responsibilities that are very similar to civil marriage, both during the Partnership and when it comes to an end.

Civil partners also have the same rights when it comes to parental responsibility for a partner’s child including the reasonable maintenance of one’s partner and their children. Rights also comprise the recognition of full life insurance, tenancy rights and next of kin rights in hospitals.

Our team of family law specialists can help you prepare for Civil Partnership. This might include preparation of pre-partnership (prenuptial) agreements, cohabitation agreements or wills.

Dissolving a Civil Partnership

There is a formal process for dissolution, which is very similar to divorce. If the Civil Partnership has existed for less than a year, it can’t be dissolved. To dissolve a Civil Partnership you need to file an application for dissolution to the court. The court fee for this is £550, but you can get help if you are on benefits or low income.

The Process

If the dissolution is amicable and everything is agreed in advance, you probably won’t need to attend court and will automatically be granted a conditional order of dissolution. If there are disagreements, you will need to attend a case management hearing. A judge will decide whether to grant a conditional order.

The court has the power to make financial provision including things such as child maintenance, property rights, pension rights and so on. If a conditional order is granted, you can apply for a final order 6 weeks after the date of the conditional order. The court will check that there are no reasons why your civil partnership cannot be dissolved. You and your partner will then be sent the final order, which dissolves the partnership.

Dissolution can only happen if the relationship has broken down and cannot be salvaged. There are four key reasons that this might be the case:-

  1. Unreasonable behaviour
    Your partner may have behaved in an unreasonable manner that is so bad that you can no longer bear to live with them. This behaviour could include physical or mental cruelty, verbal or physical abuse, being unfaithful sexually or being financially irresponsible.
  2. Desertion
    This arises when your partner walks out on you in order to end your relationship. In order to claim desertion, your partner has to have been absent for more than 2 years in the last 2.5 years.
  3. You have lived apart for more than 2 years
    If both parties agree to end the Partnership, a dissolution is likely to be granted.
  4. You have lived apart for more than 5 years
    This is usually enough to end a Civil Partnership even if the other party disagrees.

We can help

We can help you with the preparation of the necessary paperwork to apply for dissolution and can guide you through the entire process, including any court procedures. Contact us today to discuss your requirements with our team.