Same Sex Partnership Breakup
A civil partnership is the legal status acquired by same sex couples who register as civil partners of each other under the Civil Partnership Act 2004 which provides them with similar legal rights to married couples.
Being in a civil partnership is akin to being in a traditional “marriage”. Consequently the legal status accorded to civil partners is identical to the status accorded to “married couples”.
Some differences remain in the remedies that are available, including for example, the grounds for a dissolution of a civil partnership (adultery is not recognised as one of the facts establishing irretrievable breakdown) and there are some important distinctions that remain over the treatment of occupational pensions.
It is of course now possible to convert a civil partnership into a same sex marriage following the introduction of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013.
Civil Partnership Dissolution – What You Should Know
- Can I get “divorced” if I am in a civil partnership?
- When can I get a civil partnership dissolved?
- How long does it take to dissolve a civil partnership?
- How much will the dissolution of my civil partnership cost?
- Will I have to appear in court?
- Are the proceedings public?
- Am I able to make any financial claims against my civil partner?
Can I get “divorced” if I am in a civil partnership?
Yes – the terminology is slightly different in that you would petition for the dissolution of the civil partnership rather than petition for divorce.
The procedure to follow to obtain the dissolution of the civil partnership is identical in most respects to the procedure upon divorce.
When can I get a civil partnership dissolved?
There is a bar to dissolving the Civil Partnership within the first year, but beyond that point, if you have reached the conclusion that the relationship with your civil partner has broken down irretrievably then you can apply to court for a dissolution of the civil partnership.
To establish “irretrievable breakdown” you would need to rely on one of the following (alternative) factors:-
Desertion which has been in place for a period of 2 years or more
2 years separation with the consent of your ex partner
5 years separation (no consent required) Once one of the factors is established a presumption of irretrievable breakdown is raised.
In an undefended case the court simply accepts the statement made in the Petition that the Civil Partnership has broken down.
How long does it take to dissolve a civil partnership?
From start to finish the process will take approximately 6 months.
The time taken is influenced by 2 factors, the amount of business that the court has and whether or not your ex partner co-operates with the process.
How much will the dissolution of my civil partnership cost?
If you appoint Sinclair Law Solicitors, as a guide and including the court fee of £550.00, provided the proceedings are not defended, we would normally estimate a fee in the region of £1350.00.
This will include a service that enables you to have complete confidence that the process will be handled expertly and efficiently from start to finish.
Will I have to appear in court?
No – it is very rare that in the dissolution proceedings either party will have to appear in court.
Are the proceedings public?
The only aspect of the process which takes place in a public court is when the pronouncement of the “Conditional Order” which has the same status as the “Decree Nisi” in divorce proceedings.
When that happens the Judge sitting in the public court will simply read a list of names (usually there are several pronouncements on the same day)and formally grant the Conditional Order (or Decree Nisi).
Am I able to make any financial claims against my civil partner?
Yes – you have the right to make the same claims against your civil partner as if you had gone through the process of “divorce”.
For more information please refer to our guide on divorce and financial settlements.