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How To Legally End A Civil Partnership

View profile for Shamin Ali
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“Don’t say the relationship is over, say it’s complete. Some aren’t meant to last together” - The Soul School.


Any relationship breakdown is difficult and can be hard to deal with. A Civil Partnership is a legally registered relationship between two people of the same sex. 

As a family lawyer, I was interested to deal  with my first Civil Dissolution. Here’s a short summary of what it involves: 

The process of a dissolution of a Civil Partnership is similar to the divorce process but with a few exceptions and different terminology. To start the process the parties have to have been together in their partnership for at least one year  

If both parties have decided to part, then a Dissolution Petition should to be filed with the court to apply for permission to end the Civil Partnership. The parties have to show that there is an irretrievable breakdown of the partnership


 The Dissolution Petition can be filed on the following grounds:-


  • Unreasonable Behaviour -  The aggrieved party has to show that the behaviour can no longer be tolerated and provide  examples of  the behaviour, which can include for example physical or mental cruelty, verbal abuse, being sexually unfaithful, passing on certain sexually transmitted disease;


  • Two Years Desertion - The date of the desertion and the circumstances of the desertion should be provided.


  • Two Years Separation - The consent of   the other party is required.


  • Five Years Separation – The consent of the other party is not required.


The only ground which differs from a divorce is  adultery which cannot be relied upon to end a civil partnership

To start the process, the Dissolution Petition with the certificate and a filing fee (which currently is £550.00) needs to be filed with the court. Court fee remission is available for those who are on a low income.  The Court will process the application and a copy of the Dissolution Petition is sent to the other partner who should file their response within 14 days to the court.


If no response is received, then a bailiff or a process server can be instructed to personally serve  the Dissolution Petition on the other partner so that it can be shown that they are aware of the proceedings.


A Conditional Order can then be applied for and if the Judge wishes to raise any query on the Dissolution Petition, he will do so at this point.


An application for a Final Order can be made six weeks after the Conditional Order has been granted. A Final Order is usually granted around a week after the application has been made.


Many clients understandably wish for the process to be completed as quickly as possible and expect that it will on take a couple of months.  Unfortunately, that is not the case and the process can take around six months to conclude, longer if there are financial issues to be dealt with or the application is contested.

This is only an overview of the process involved in  a Civil Dissolution. For more detailed advice please get in touch with me.