Dissolution of a Civil Partnership

Not all relationships are made for life. There may come a time where a couple will need to end their relationship and move on with their personal lives. Most commonly, following family disputes or due a breakdown of trust and relationship all relationships and marriages may come to an end. Such a scenario may require divorce proceedings to end the tie you have created with your partner. But what happens when the relationship is not of marriage but a Civil Partnership?

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What is a Civil Partnership?

A relationship does not have to be tied down in the bond of a marriage. Some couples may look to enter a Civil Partnership. According to the Citizens Advice Bureau a Civil Partnership is a legal relationship which can be entered into and registered by 2 people who are not related to each other. Civil partnerships in the UK are on the rise. In 2018 there were 956 Civil Partnerships formed in England and Wales in 2018. According to the Office for National Statistics this is an increase of 5.3% compared with 2017.

In the United Kingdom, Civil Partnership is governed by the Civil Partnership Act 2004. A civil Partnership is a relationship between 2 partners of either the same sex or different sex and is formed by registering as civil partners of each other.

How are Civil Partnerships formed?

Two people from either the same sex or opposite sex can enter into a Civil Partnership provided they are:

  • Aged 16 or over;
  • They are not already married or in a Civil Partnership; and
  • They are not closely related to each other.

People who are under the age of 18 will require their parents’ permission to enter into such an agreement. A Civil Partnership is entered into by signing and registering the Civil Partnership documents.

How do you register a civil partnership?

In order to successfully register a Civil Partnership, there are 2 steps which need to be adhered to. The first step is to provide notice of your intention to register a civil partnership. The second step is to register the civil partnership.

Both, you and your partner must inform the local register office where you live of your intention to register a civil partnership. When giving notice of your intention to register a civil partnership you will be required to provide details of the venue and date where the civil partnership is to be registered. As well as this, personal information will need to be provided such as your names, addresses, age, nationality and whether you have been in a marriage or civil partnership prior to this registration. The details you provide will be available for other people to see for 28 days before you can register your civil partnership. The purpose of this is to provide people with an opportunity for objections to be made.

If after the 28 days, there are no objections then you can register your civil partnership. After the 28 day period you will receive a civil partnership schedule from the register office, and you will be required to register your civil partnership within 12 months. Failing to register your civil partnership within this time will mean you will need to commence the whole process again.

When forming a civil partnership, it is important to note that you cannot have a religious ceremony. However, you have a civil ceremony at either a register office or any venue approved by the local council. In order to complete the registration of your civil partnership you must have at least 2 witnesses at the ceremony. A registrar will need to be present at your civil partnership but must not include anything which is religious.

What is the process for ending a civil partnership?

Ending a civil partnership is also known as a dissolution of a civil partnership or a civil partnership divorce. Similar to a divorce in marriage, a civil partnership separation is also carried out by a family court. Before ending a civil partnership there are certain conditions which a couple must be able to satisfy for the dissolution of civil partnership to proceed. You must satisfy the eligibility for Civil Partnership Dissolution requirements.

It is important to note when considering a civil partnership separation, the couple will have the same claims as a spouse does in the case of a marriage. These claims include and are not limited to financial settlement, transfer of property as well as pension sharing orders.

Obtaining a dissolution of civil partnership order?

In order to legally terminate your civil partnership an application will need to be made to the family court for a dissolution order where you can satisfy the eligibility for Civil Partnership Dissolution. The Family court will only consider an application for ending a civil partnership where you have been in a civil partnership for at least one year.

In order to undergo a civil partnership, divorce you must complete an application form and submit it to your family court with a fee of £550.00. The application form which you must complete is the D8 Application for a divorce, dissolution or to apply for a (judicial) separation order.

What are the eligibility for Civil Partnership Dissolution requirements?

When successfully ending a civil partnership, you must be able to prove that a ground for the dissolution of civil partnership exists. The grounds for a civil partnership separation are similar to a divorce. As with a marriage you must prove that the Civil Partnership has broken down irretrievably. In order to satisfy this eligibility for civil partnership dissolution you must use one of the following grounds to portray that your civil partnership has broken down irretrievably:

  • Unreasonable behaviour – You must be able to show that your civil partner has behaved in a way which you could not be expected to live with them and hence you are ending a civil partnership;
  • Desertion – this is where your civil partner has deserted you for at least 2 years prior to you applying for a civil partnership divorce;
  • 2 years separation by consent – where your civil partner consents to dissolution of civil partnership and you have lives separately for 2 years; or
  • 5 years separation – this is where both off you have lived apart for a period of 5 years immediately before your application for a civil partnership divorce.

What does the ground of unreasonable behaviour cover when filing for a civil partnership dissolution?

The ground of unreasonable behaviour is a very broad ground and can cover anything done by your partner which results in you being unable to continue living with them. This could include committing a crime or domestic abuse. This ground also covers aspects such as your partner neglecting you, your partner exerting financial control or being irresponsible with finances, not providing you with enough time, doesn’t help with the household expenses or chores or has been unfaithful.

Can family law specialists assist with my application for a civil partnership separation?

Family law specialists often possess the requisite skills and knowledge to be able to assist you in filing for your dissolution of civil partnership. At Kabir Family Law, our family lawyers have experience with dealing with all aspects of family law. They possess a great amount of knowledge and have vast skills in dealing with ending a civil partnership. Contact us today how our family law specialists can assist you with your dissolution of a civil partnership. We can guide and assist you through the whole process from attempting to reconcile your differences, assisting you with complete the application form right through to assisting and advising you on your financial settlement. With local knowledge our family law specialists will assist you in submitting your civil partnership divorce form to your local court, making it more convenient to attend the court should the need arise to do so.

What happens once a dissolution of civil partnership application is submitted to the family court?

Once the court are in receipt of the completed application for a civil partnership separation, they will issue the petition and send a copy to your partner who will be the respondent in the proceedings. Upon receipt of this petition your partner is required to complete and acknowledgement of service form to the court, which they will provide you with a copy of.

If your partner agrees to the dissolution of civil partnership the application will be referred to as uncontested. If your partner does not approve the same then the matter will become defended or contested, in the even of your application becoming contested, your partner will be required to file an answer to the court in 21 days from the acknowledgement of service.

How long does the process take to end a civil partnership?

Once an application has been made to the court the time taken to terminate a civil partnership will depend on whether the application is contested or not. A straightforward uncontested application for a civil partnership separation can be concluded within 4 to 6 months. However, this will depend on how complex the matter is. If, however the matter is contested then this could take longer than 6 months.


Is a civil partnership similar to a marriage?

A Civil Partnership affords the couple the same rights as married couples. The process of ending a civil partnership, which is known as a dissolution of civil partnership is also very similar to the process of divorce for married couples. The only difference is that the process of divorce has an extra ground which is adultery. This ground cannot be used when ending a civil partnership

Speak to us today to discuss your dissolution of a civil partnership enquiry

Contact us today on 0330 094 5880 to discuss your options or let us call you back to discuss your civil partnership enquiry. With family lawyers in Northampton as well as across the country, we are able to offer local appointments at a branch closest to you.