FAQs on dissolving a civil partnership


Can a civil partnership be dissolved?

Just as marriages sometimes come to an end, so too do civil partnerships. Civil partnerships can be dissolved through a similar process to a divorce. As a civil partnership is a legally registered relationship, to bring it to an end the couple must be granted permission from a court.

What is the process for dissolving a civil partnership?

The process is fairly similar to the divorce process. To start the dissolution process, one party needs to fill out and file a ‘petition’ with the court. The petition sets out the reasons why they are applying for dissolution. It must be supported by evidence, usually in the form of written evidence. If the other party agrees to the dissolution, the process is fairly straightforward. If it is contested, it will be necessary for the matter to be heard before a magistrate or judge.

What are the grounds for dissolution?

The couple must prove that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the relationship. The accepted grounds for irretrievable breakdown include:

  • One partner has behaved unreasonably
  • The couple has lived apart for two years, and both agree to the dissolution
  • The couple has lived apart for at least five years, if only one of them agrees to the dissolution
  • One partner deserted the other at least two years ago.

What if there are children and property?

If the couple has children together, they will need to complete a form called a ‘statement of arrangements’ in which they inform the court of how they will care for the children once the dissolution is final. If there are contested matters relating to children or property, it may be necessary for these to be resolved by the court.

What is a living together agreement?

Cohabiting couples and civil partners can choose to enter into a living together agreement, also known as a cohabitation agreement. This document sets out the agreement reached by the couple on certain issues, such as:

  • Parental responsibility
  • Property ownership
  • Living arrangements
  • How such issues will be dealt with if the relationship breaks down.

Civil partners can enter into a pre-registration agreement, which has the same effect.

If you would like to obtain legal advice on civil partnerships, Contact Law can put you in touch with a local family solicitor free of charge. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local family solicitors please call us on 0800 1777 162.

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