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Civil partnerships

The introduction of Civil Partnerships in December 2005 brought same sex couples on equal terms in law as married couples.

If your relationship has broken down and you cannot resolve your differences with your civil partner and you are certain that your partnership is at an end, then you can apply to the court to dissolve the partnership.

The procedure to dissolve a civil partnership mirrors the divorce and judicial separation procedure of married couples, except you will be applying for a dissolution order or a separation order.

Dissolution and separation orders are an entirely separate procedure from issues concerning children and the family finances. Whether you intend to apply for a dissolution order or a separation order we can help you to sort out your family finances.

Dissolution order

You cannot apply for dissolution of your partnership until a period of 1 year has passed since the partnership was entered into.

Separation order

A separation order is the formal way in which you can separate from your civil partner. This process may be for religious, moral or ethical grounds. The process is similar to a dissolution order. However, you will remain legally married to your civil partner, but you no longer have to live with each other.

The grounds for dissolution or separation are:

  • Behaviour
  • Desertion
  • 2 years separation (this will require your spouse's consent)
  • 5 years separation (spouse's consent not required)

If the Judge considers that one of the above facts has been proved then the Judge will grant a decree of dissolution.

The entire process is usually carried out on paper and generally you will not be required to attend court unless your civil partner defends the petition or you are directed by the court. The procedure can take as little as 4 to 6 months, but sometimes it can take longer depending on the circumstances of your case.

Contact Vina Lad, head of SC Law's family department for more information or an initial consultation.


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