Civil Partnerships

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Grounds for dissolution

The processing of ending a civil partnership is known as dissolution. Before you can apply you must have been in a civil partnership for a year. 

A condition for ending a civil partnership is that the relationship has irretrievably broken down due to one of four grounds: 

  • Unreasonable behaviour;
  • Desertion for a period of two years or more;
  • Two years’ separation, with the partner’s consent; or
  • Five years’ separation, without the partner’s consent.

Unlike divorce, you cannot use the grounds of adultery as the legal definition states that a sexual relationship between a man and a woman is required in order to qualify. If your partner has been unfaithful, then this would fall under the ‘unreasonable behaviour’ ground for dissolution.

Stages of dissolution

You must complete the dissolution petition form as the initial stage.  This is then sent to the nearest court that deals with civil partnerships. 

The next stage is a conditional order which is a document that states there is no reason why your civil partnership should not be dissolved. 

Applying for a final order is the final stage as this document officially ends your civil partnership.

If the court is satisfied that things have been done properly, the final order will be granted.

Just as people in a civil partnership benefit from the same rights as married couples in terms of tax benefits, pensions and inheritance; ending a civil partnership provides the same entitlements as a spouse who gets divorced.

As with divorce proceedings, dissolving a civil partnership is completed by the court. As part of the process you can apply for financial provision by way of lump sum, property transfer, maintenance and pension sharing orders. 

Financial provision can also be applied for in respect of any child or children of the family.

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