Civil Partnership Dissolution
Dissolving a civil partnership
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English Law determines the rights of any couple and there are different rights for varying situations; such as unmarried couples who have fewer rights than a legally binding partnership or marriage. Anyone considering a civil partnership should be aware that legally ending a partnership is similar to the procedure for divorce; including financial situations that might occur. However, the process is referred to as Dissolution rather than Divorce.
One important aspect of dissolution is that parties must remain in the Civil Partnership for at least 1 year before Dissolution can occur. Even if you feel the partnership should end prior to the 1st year, you will need to remain in the partnership if you wish to be considered for dissolution or any financial settlement.
During the process of application the Petitioner must prove that one of these four legal facts occurred:
- The Respondent behaved unreasonably
- You have been deserted for 2 years or more
- You have separated and lived apart for 2 years or more and you both agree to the dissolution
- You have separated and lived apart for 5 years or more
Acknowledgement of Service
If any of the above can be proven, then the court will accept your application and proceedings will commence. The next step is the acknowledgement of service. During this step the respondent (i.e- your ex-partner) will need to fill out a form and accept the petition sent to the court. Once they have stated that they have received these forms and answered the questions, it is time to progress to the next stage in the dissolution.
The third stage of the dissolution is the Conditional Order. This order is provided by the court if your civil partner does not wish to contest the dissolution. This means that your civil partner has replied to you, agreeing that there is no reason you cannot separate legally and completely.
At this point you will need to apply for the final order. The Final Order is the legally binding agreement which terminates your civil partnership. Similarly to a divorce, you are required to wait 6 weeks from the date of the Conditional Order before you can apply for the Final Order.
Remember that in a Civil Partnership Dissolution, the process is only formalised at the end of your relationship. Financial settlements are a separate matter and will require a different court order application in order to resolve any financial disputes. For more information, read our Financial Settlements section to discover how we can help you resolve your financial disputes during a Civil Partnership Dissolution.
Additionally, we provide an extensive range of links to websites and advocates who can help you assess your financial situation, decide how best to proceed, and find answers to any of your questions regarding assets and rights for Civil Partnerships rather than Divorce.