How do you end a civil partnership?

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If you want to end a civil partnership, you need to apply for a ‘dissolution order’ which dissolves the partnership. The process is similar to that of divorce in marriage, in that you need to make a statement saying that your relationship has irretrievably broken down.

How do you apply to dissolve a civil partnership?

Although the forms for dissolving a civil partnership are readily available on the Government website, if there are financial or childcare considerations involved, or there is a chance that your ex-partner will not cooperate, it’s important to instruct a specialist family law solicitor.

A solicitor can advise you on separating your finances, coming to an agreement on childcare and all other elements of dissolving the civil partnership, to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible.

The dissolution application

To start the process of dissolving the civil partnership, you will need to complete an application that states your relationship has broken down irretrievably.

You and your partner only need to make one dissolution application between you. You can send the application from one or both of you together (a joint application).

It is a good idea to send a copy of the application to your ex-partner before submitting it to keep things amicable and avoid any potential dispute further down the line.

Once the application has been agreed and issued by the court, a copy will be sent to your ex-partner (the respondent) with an acknowledgement of service form.

The respondent has 14 days to complete the acknowledgement of service form, confirming they have received the dissolution application and that they will not be disputing it, and sends it back to the court.

Conditional order

You must then wait 20 weeks before you can apply for a ‘conditional order’, which is confirmation from the court that you have satisfied the legal requirements to dissolve your civil partnership.

Hearing date

Once the application has been granted, the court will set a date for the hearing. This is where your conditional order will be made. You generally do not need to attend this court hearing.

Final order

After the conditional order has been granted, you can apply for the ‘final order’. This is the final stage in the dissolution process. However, you must wait six weeks and one day before applying.

The final order officially dissolves the civil partnership.

It’s important to take your time and not rush the dissolution process; particularly when it comes to applying for the final order. If you and your ex-partner are still working through or resolving financial matters or childcare arrangements, it’s advisable to hold off until things are finalised. Our family solicitors will discuss this with you.

Contact our civil partnership solicitors today

To speak to our specialist family lawyers about dissolving a civil partnership, call us on 0117 905 1021 or complete our online enquiry form.

How long does it take to dissolve a civil partnership?

Presuming the proceedings are not contested, the process of dissolving a civil partnership can take between four and six months to conclude.

What are the grounds for dissolving a civil partnership?

As of April 2022, couples wishing to dissolve a civil partnership no longer need to prove that their relationship has broken down irretrievably due to factors such as desertion or unreasonable behaviour.

A civil partnership can be dissolved on the basis that the partnership has simply broken down irretrievably.

What if my ex-partner does not agree to dissolve our civil partnership?

Refusals to cooperate with the dissolution of civil partnerships are thankfully rare, mostly due to the associated costs of disputing it.

Your ex-partner can only dispute a dissolution for one of the following reasons:

  • The civil partnership wasn’t valid in the beginning
  • They believe the partnership has already been legally ended through dissolution
  • They don’t think the court is allowed to deal with the dissolution due to not having jurisdiction

The only document that your ex-partner is required to complete is the acknowledgement of service form. If they refuse to complete and return this, alternate methods can be looked into. A family solicitor can advise you on these alternative methods.

Once an alternative method is successful, the dissolution can progress, assuming that the respondent is not disputing the dissolution. Again, a specialist civil partnership solicitor will take you through this process.

Can civil partners get an annulment?

As with marriage, couples in a civil partnership (both same-sex and opposite sex) can apply for an annulment. To be eligible, you must have one of the following reasons:

  • Either party did not validly consent to the civil partnership formation
  • Either party was suffering from a mental disorder which rendered them unfit for civil partnership
  • The respondent was pregnant at the time of the civil partnership formation by someone other than the applicant
  • An interim gender recognition certificate has been issued to either party after the formation of the civil partnership
  • A full gender recognition certificate has been issued as of the date of the civil partnership to the respondent

Get in touch with our civil partnership solicitors in Bristol and South Gloucestershire

If you are starting dissolution proceedings for a civil partnership, or to discuss your options around separating from your civil partner, contact our specialist family solicitors in Bristol.

Call us on 0117 325 2929 or fill out our online enquiry form. Alternatively, you can click here to make an immediate start online.


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