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How to dissolve a civil partnership

We understand dissolving a civil partnership is an emotional process and that you’ll want everything to be as straightforward as possible. Fortunately, the steps to a civil partnership dissolution, separation or annulment are clearly laid out and simple to follow.

To end a civil partnership, you must ask a court to grant you and your ex-partner, one of three things:

  1. A dissolution order – You must have been in the partnership for one year or more to be granted this.
  2. A separation order – These can be applied for at any time, no matter how long you have been in a civil partnership together.
  3. An annulment – This can only be ordered if the court deems that your partnership is void, or voidable.

If you’d prefer not to do all of this yourself, you can speak to an experienced family solicitor who can help to make the process much easier. With First4lawyers, our team doesn’t just provide unparalleled legal advice, but has real sensitivity for the personal experience you’re going through.

  1. How to apply to dissolve your civil partnership

To apply for a dissolution order you must have been in a civil partnership for at least one year.

It can be granted when you can prove your partnership has broken down beyond any possible fix, and can be justified by any of four reasons:

  1. That the behaviour of your partner has been unreasonable.
  2. That you have lived apart for two years and both agree to the separation.
  3. That you have lived apart for five years, and only one of you agrees to the separation.
  4. That you have been abandoned by your partner for two years or more.

You can apply for a dissolution order through the family court (to find your closest family court, search using the Gov.uk website). There are separate official forms for each reason: unreasonable behaviour, desertion, living apart for two years and for five years.

If both parties agree to the order, the court will look at the forms, grant a conditional order, and then make the order final within six weeks.

If one party refuses to comply, you will need to hire a family law solicitor, who will try to settle the matter outside of court. If this isn’t possible, they will be able to represent you in court.

  1. How to apply for a civil partnership separation order

You can apply for a separation order at any time, no matter how long you’ve been in the partnership.

The order can be granted when you can prove your partnership has broken down beyond any possible fix. The justification you give can be any of the four reasons that apply to a dissolution order (see above).

To begin the process you just need to use the appropriate forms, linked to above. Alternatively, you can visit your closest court that deals with civil partnerships, which can be found on the Gov.uk website.

One of the drawbacks of a separation order is that neither party will be able to marry or register for another civil partnership. However, if you wish to apply for a dissolution order at a later date, you can do so using the reasoning for the separation; it doesn’t have to be proven twice.

  1. How to apply for a civil partnership annulment

This is one of the more complicated forms of separation. An annulment is granted when the civil partnership is regarded as void. This is typically looked at on a case-by-case basis by the family court, and you’ll need to prove your partnership is either:

  1. Void – This means that the partnership never legally existed (e.g. you were not both over the age of 16, one of you is already in a civil partnership or married).
  2. Voidable – Meaning the partnership may have been legal originally but no longer is (e.g. one person could not give their true consent, one person had/has a mental disorder).

To apply for an annulment, you should first speak to a family law specialist, who can help to guide you on whether you may be qualified for an annulment, and who can help to arrange a court visit for you.

Would you like help dissolving a civil partnership?

This personal and emotional time can be difficult to handle alone. That’s why First4lawyers is happy to discuss anything around civil partnership dissolutions on an initial free, no-obligation basis, and can look to match you with a relevant solicitor to help your situation, should you wish. Get in touch today or request a call back.

Note: First4lawyers offers this information as guidance, not advice. Before taking any action, you should seek professional assistance tailored to your personal circumstances and not rely on First4lawyers’ online information alone.