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The legal process used to end a civil partnership is called a 'dissolution of civil partnership'. The process of dissolving a civil partnership can be straightforward when both civil partners are on the same page. However, if you disagree over practical issues such as childcare and financial settlement of assets then the process can be more complex. Our expert team of dissolution lawyers in London, Manchester and Birmingham have vast knowledge and experience of dealing with dissolution of civil partnership and the financial settlement following the dissolution of civil partnership.

When Can You Get Dissolution Of Your Civil Partnership In The UK?

You can get civil partnership dissolved in England or Wales if all of the following are true:

  • you’ve been in civil partnership for over a year
  • your relationship has permanently broken down
  • your civil partnership is legally recognised in the UK
  • the UK is your permanent home, or the permanent home of your civil partner

If you do not want dissolution of your civil partnership, you can get Judicial Separation so you can live apart without ending the civil partnership. You might also be able to annul the civil partnership. You can apply for separation or annulment during your first year of civil partnership.

How To End Your Civil Partnership?

You must send paperwork to a court to ask for permission to end your civil partnership.

Separate from the paperwork, you and your ex-partner may need to work out:

  • arrangements for looking after any children
  • child maintenance payments for any children

You also need to divide your money and property. There’s a deadline if you want to make this legally binding.

You can usually avoid going to court hearings if you agree about children, money and property and the reasons for ending your civil partnership.

How To Apply For Dissolution Of Civil Partnership?

To end a civil partnership, you first need to fill in a civil partnership dissolution form D8. You must include your:

  • full name and address
  • civil partner’s full name and address
  • civil partnership certificate - send the original certificate or get a copy from a register office

Include the names and dates of birth of any children (no matter how old they are). You must try to find your civil partner’s current address if you do not know it. The court will need it to send them a copy of the dissolution application.

What Are Various Grounds For Ending Civil Partnership?

When you apply for dissolution of civil partnership you’ll need to prove that your civil partnership has broken down irretrievably and cannot be saved. This means that either one or both of you feel that you cannot stay in civil partnership with each other. Either of you may apply to the court in England and Wales for the civil partnership to be dissolved as long as you have been in civil partnership for one year at least and that one of you has been a resident here for the year before your application is made. The application to the court is called a Petition and the partner who files (sends) the Petition is called the Petitioner. The other partner is then called the Respondent. You’ll need to give one or more of the following 5 reasons (also known as ‘facts’).

There are 5 grounds for dissolution of civil partnership which are as follows:

  • Adultery - Your civil partner had sexual intercourse with someone else (committed adultery) and you find it intolerable to live with him or her. In most cases you prove adultery by your your civil partner admitting it. If not, you will need to speak to your family law solicitor. If you carry on living with your civil partner for more than six months after you find out about the adultery, you will generally not be able to use this as ground for dissolution unless the adultery is continuing.
  • Unreasonable Behaviour - Your civil partner has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with him or her. This covers all sorts of bad behaviour. You need to think about the main things that have made your civil partner difficult to live with. These are summed up in the petition (the application for dissolution of civil partnership) in a few short paragraphs. Our team of divorce & family law solicitors will aim to send a draft copy to your civil partner or his/her appointed family law solicitors for an agreement. As with adultery, you cannot rely on single event that took place more than six months before you file your petition, if you have lived together since then. The examples of unreasonable behaviour could include:
    • physical violence;
    • verbal abuse, such as insults or threats
    • drunkenness or drug-taking
    • refusing to pay towards shared living expenses
  • Desertion Of The Petitioner By The Respondent - Your civil partner has deserted you for a period of more than two years. Desertion means leaving your civil partner without his or her agreement and without good reason. The petitioner can apply for dissolution of civil partnership on the grounds that the Respondent deserted the petitioner more than 2 years ago and the civil partnership has broken down irretrievably.
  • 2 Years Separation And Respondent Consenting To Dissolution Of Civil Partnership - You have lived separately for more than two years and your civil partner (the respondent to the dissolution of civil partnership petition) consents to the dissolution of civil partnership. This is often called a 'no-fault' dissolution of civil partnership. You can have had periods of living together as long as they do not add up to more than six months and you have been apart for least two years altogether. Your civil partner must agree in writing. It may be possible for you to show that you’ve been separated while living in the same home as your civil partner as long as you’re not living together as a couple (for example you sleep and eat apart).
  • 5 Years Separation - You have lived separately for more than 5 years. Your civil partner who is repondent to the dissolution of civil partnership petition does not need to agree to this. The Respondent cannot defend the dissolution of civil partnership petition on this ground but he/she can ask the court not to grant the final decree because of a major financial or other type of hardship.

What Is The Step By Step Procedure For Getting Civil Partnership Dissolved In The UK?

Following is the step by step procedure for getting civil partnership dissolved in the UK:

  1. The petitioner would file the dissolution petition in the court by completing civil partnership dissolution form D8 and send the form with the relevant enclosures to the court;
  2. Within a few days of getting the dissolution petition, the court would write to the petitioner or his/her solicitors confirming the receipt of the dissolution petition;
  3. The court will then send a copy of your dissolution petition to your civil partner (respondent). If your civil partner has instructed solicitors to act for him/her, a copy of the dissolution petition would be sent to them. If you applied for dissolution on adultery grounds and named the other party who committed adultery with your civil partner, a copy of the dissolution petition would also be sent to such other named party;
  4. Within 8 days of receiving the dissolution petition, the respondent is required to send a reply by post to your dissolution petition stating whether or not he/she intends to contest the dissolution. The respondent must respond within 7 days in case of online response where the dissolution petition was filed by your civil partner online;
  5. If your civil partner (respondent) does not contest the dissolution, you can then apply for Conditional Order Of Dissolution. If your civil partner does contest the dissolution, you’re still able to apply for final dissolution order, but you’ll need to attend a court hearing where your case will be discussed. A family court judge will then decide whether to grant you a Conditional Order Of Dissolution. If your dissolution petition is approved by the court, you and your civil partner (respondent) will be sent certificates stating the time and date when dissolution will be granted. If your dissolution petition is rejected, you may be sent a form called a ‘notice of refusal of judge’s certificate’ giving reasons why you are not permitted to dissolution. This form will also tell you what steps to take next. For example, you might be asked to provide additional information or you might be required to attend a hearing;
  6. After 6 weeks and 1 day of conditional order of dissolution being granted by the court, you can then apply for a dissolution order. Before applying for a dissolution order, you have to submit a financial settlment application if there are assets and money of which settlement is required. Once you have decree absolute, your civil partnership is officially dissolved and you are no longer in civil partnership.

How Long Does The Disssolution Of Civil Partnership Process Take?

This varies from court to court and from case to case, depending on the complexity of the case. An uncontested dissolution can take from 4 to 6 months whereas a contested and complicated dissolution can take much longer than 6 months and time would vary depending on the complexity of the matter.

How Sunrise Solicitors Can Help You With Your Dissolution Petition?

Dissolution and separation is a very difficult decision to make and should never be taken lightly. Our team of family law solicitors is aware of the sensitivity in this matter and every individual is in a different situation. To make your life easier, you can seek expert legal help from the family law solicitors at Sunrise Solicitors. Our team of family law solicitors are highly trained and experienced in all aspects of dissolution law and will guide and support you each step of the way. We will cut through the legal jargon and ensure you understand exactly what’s happening at all times. Our team of expert family law solicitors will provide the required legal help and guidance with step by step procedure for getting civil partnership dissolved in the UK.

Our team of family law solicitors will advise and assist to cater for your individuals needs. We will discuss the possible grounds on which you can apply for dissolution after gathering all the factual information from you. We will explain to you the court procedures in very simple and clear terms and fully guide you through the procedures and carry out all the follow up work until the Decree Absolute is issued by the family court.

How Much Sunrise Solicitors Charge For Dissolution Of Civil Partnership?

  • Our team of family law solicitors will charge a fee from £700 + VAT in relation to your dissolution petition where the application for dissolution is not contested by the Respondent (uncontested dissolution);
  • Our team of family law solicitors will charge on hourly rate basis with hourly rate starting from £120 + VAT per hour in relation to your dissolution petition where the dissolution matter is either complicated or is being contested by the respondent (contested dissolution). The agreed hourly rate will be dependent on the complexity of the matter.

How Much Is The Court Fee For Dissolution Of Civil Partnership?

  • The court fee for filing dissolution in the family court is £550 which has to be paid at the time of filing for dissolution. Petitioners with very low income may qualify for court fee exemption.