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Read more articles in: Blog, Family, Family Law, Stuart Daniel

How do you end a civil partnership?

If you’re going through the break down of your relationship, you may wish to formally end your civil partnership.

In England and Wales, you must dissolve the civil partnership for it to legally end but you must have been in the partnership for at least a year.

If you have been in the civil partnership for less than a year, you can apply for a legal separation.

How does a dissolution differ from a divorce?

The dissolution and divorce processes are fairly similar and both serve the purpose of legally ending a relationship.

However, it’s important to note that dissolutions only apply to civil partnerships. Likewise, divorce only relates to marriage.

Since the no-fault law came into force from The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act (2020), as with a divorce, neither partner needs a ground to dissolve a civil partnership other than the relationship has irretrievably broken down.

You will also need to agree on how to split any assets, such as property and finances, as well as make childcare arrangements.

If you cannot decide between yourselves and legal agreements for the division of assets or childcare arrangements are required, these are separate from the dissolution process and may require Court hearings.

Dissolving your civil partnership

You must have been in the civil partnership for at least a year before applying to the Court to dissolve the partnership.

Applying for dissolution

In line with the no-fault law, you can make a joint application to dissolve your civil partnership or apply on your own, depending on your circumstances.

Sole applications are usually pursued if one partner disagrees with the dissolution.

The conditional order

You must apply for a conditional order after your initial application to confirm that the Court sees no reason why the civil partnership shouldn’t end.

As of 6 April 2022, you must wait 20 weeks following your original application to apply for a conditional order from the Court.

If you started the process with a joint application and your partner becomes unresponsive, you can continue and apply for the conditional order on your own.

Applying for the final order

The final order confirms that the civil partnership has legally ended.

If you applied for the conditional order, you must wait six weeks before applying for a final order.

In the case your civil partner applied for the conditional order but you wish to apply for the final order, you cannot apply until 3 months and 6 weeks after the conditional order.

However, you should apply within 12 months of the conditional order or you will have to explain the reason for the delay to the Court.

Legally separating

The legal separation process involves applying to the Court, which can be done via a joint or sole application (as with dissolution).

As with any relationship breakdown, you will need to decide on how to divide assets and any necessary childcare arrangements.

If you cannot come to an agreement on these, it is vital to seek legal advice as you may have to go to Court hearings.

How a family law solicitor can help

Timing is critical to ensure a smooth separation process so seeking the advice of a legal professional will ensure you submit the necessary applications on time, with the correct information.

Beyond that, you may encounter disputes over finances, property, or child arrangements that our team can support you with. We’re here to offer the legal advice you need to find the best solutions for you.

Our friendly family law solicitors are on hand to guide you through these challenges that civil partnership dissolutions present. Contact our team today.

Stuart Daniel

Head of Family Department

I qualified as a Solicitor in 2006 and now specialise in divorce, financial settlements, childcare arrangements and Pre Nuptial Agreements. I have many years’ experience as a private family lawyer having worked with two other local firms before returning to Mander Hadley, where I first undertook work experience during my university studies.