Civil partnership dissolution and the law

Ending a civil partnership can be a stressful time, and the legal procedures associated with it are often the last thing you want. However, proper help from a solicitor can really help relieve the strain.

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The process of dividing up money, property and possessions can be arduous when dealing with the personal and emotional side of ending a partnership. And if children are involved the situation can be even more difficult.

First4Lawyers can offer support, advice and legal guidance on any aspect of your civil partnership dissolution. 

What is civil partnership dissolution?

If you have been in a civil partnership for more than one year, you can apply to have it officially dissolved. This is a similar process to when married couples divorce, and often requires legal assistance.

You will need to apply to the court, giving your reasons for ending the civil partnership.  The court will then decide whether it can proceed, allowing your to apply for a final order.

What are the grounds for ending a civil partnership?

To have your civil partnership dissolved, you have to prove the relationship has broken down irretrievably.

If you are beginning the proceedings, you need to base your grounds for dissolution around one of the following scenarios:

  • Your partner’s behaviour has become such that you cannot be reasonably expected to stay with them.
  • Your partner has deserted you for over two years.
  • You have been separated for at least two years and your partner agrees to the dissolution.
  • You have been separated for five years (regardless of whether they agree to the dissolution).

If you have not been with your partner for two years, then you can only dissolve the partnership on the grounds of your partner’s behaviour. The type of behaviour that may contribute to civil partnership dissolution includes neglect, infidelity, lack of affection, abuse or violence.

If you have been with your partner for less than a year and you can prove your partner has behaved unreasonably, you can apply for a separation order.

Marriages can be ended because of adultery, which is a legal definition. We explain more in our guide to the differences between civil partnership and marriage here.

I want to dissolve my civil partnership - what should I do?

You can seek permission from the court to end your civil partnership by filing a dissolution petition at any time.

To end a civil partnership, you need to complete a dissolution application form, giving your reasons for your decision, and pay a court fee of £550.

You will need to send off three copies of the form, with a cheque (or a letter requesting a call to take phone payments). website has a court finder tool, telling you where to send your application.

However, there are other things to consider, such as any children involved, financial arrangements, housing and assets.  In this case, legal advice and support can be crucial to make sure you have all your legal rights covered. 

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I want to refuse the dissolution of my civil partnership - what should I do?

If you wish to contest a civil partnership dissolution order, you need to prove the relationship has not broken down irretrievably, or that a dissolution would cause you ‘grave hardship’.

If you can show the court your behaviour has not put your partner in a situation where they cannot reasonably be expected to live with you, that may help you in the eyes of the court.

Equally, if you lived together during the last five years, and not deserted your partner in the last two years, the court may find fewer reasons to dissolve the partnership.

If you have been separated for five years, you can still oppose the dissolution of your civil partnership if you can prove it would cause you grave financial hardship, other serious, negative consequences, or if the interest of any children or other people concerned would be adversely affected.

We can help

Whether you wish to file for a civil partnership dissolution, or if you are seeking assistance in contesting one, First4Lawyers can work with you to bring about the resolution you are looking for.

Contact us for a no-obligation chat about your civil partnership. Should you have a case, we can match you to expert solicitors who’ll be happy to take the legal strain involved in a civil partnership dissolution.


Get in touch today to discuss your requirements 08005677866

How to guides

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