The procedure for dissolution of a civil partnership mirrors that of divorce. One major difference between the two is the terminology. For example, the equivalent of a petition for divorce is known as an “application for dissolution” and a decree nisi is known as a “conditional (dissolution) order”.

If a Civil Partnership Breaks Down

Just like with divorce, you cannot apply for a dissolution until the first anniversary of the civil partnership. 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.

A civil partner seeking dissolution is entitled not to be evicted from the home that the couple has shared. Each party can also apply for an injunction order under the Family Law Act 1996 if there has been domestic violence in the relationship.

Grounds for Dissolution

A significant difference between dissolution and divorce is that adultery is not a ground for dissolution. This is because the legal definition of adultery explicitly 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. This is the most common ground cited because it can cover anything from infidelity to domestic abuse.


Aside from unreasonable behaviour

The other grounds applicable to divorce remain available to those in civil partnerships. These are:

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

If you can provide evidence that one of these four criteria has been met, you will be able to proceed with the dissolution of your civil partnership.

Steering our clients through the upset, distress and acceptance of separation is what we do. Your solicitor will advise you on the most effective and efficient process for you, taking your individual circumstances into account.

We have offices throughout the UK; visit our contact page to find your nearest office.


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