Civil Partnership Divorce – How to end a civil partnership
Civil partnership in the UK is used as an alternative to marriage, by both same-sex and opposite-sex couples, but what is the legal difference between marriage and civil partnership and can a civil partnership be dissolved?
To end a civil partnership, you need to apply to a court for a civil partnership dissolution order. This process is very similar to filing for a divorce but is called civil partnership dissolution.
In this article, we will discuss civil partnership vs marriage and the dissolution of civil partnership process in the event of a relationship breakdown.
What is the difference between marriage and civil partnership?
Civil partnership vs marriage – the main difference between marriage and civil partnership is the removal of the religious and/or traditional nature of the marriage ceremony.
A civil partnership is formed by signing a document (civil partnership schedule) as opposed to the exchanging of marriage vows in a wedding.
Furthermore, the names of both parents of each party entering a civil partnership must be included in the document, as opposed to marriage where only the fathers’ names are entered. Additionally, marriage can be performed as a civil ceremony, whereas a civil partnership must be performed as a civil ceremony.
Marriages are ended by divorce, while civil partnerships are ended by dissolution, even though the court process is primarily the same since the government’s Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act became law in April 2022.
What rights do you have in a civil partnership?
In the eyes of the law, civil partnership is virtually identical to marriage; the same legal rights, responsibilities and tax implications are shared by both forms of union. Just like a marriage, a civil partnership officially recognises a relationship between two individuals.
Registering a civil partnership gives the relationship legal recognition very similar to marriage.
Civil partners have the same property rights, tenancy rights, social security rights and pension benefits rights including life insurance recognition, as married couples.
In addition, civil partners can also exercise parental responsibility for a partner’s children including next-of-kin rights in hospitals as well as having the responsibility for providing acceptable maintenance of their partner and their children.
Civil partnership vs marriage rights UK
In summary the legal rights are generally much the same as those provided by marriage:
- Rights to property – Joint ownership of assets with a fair division upon dissolution
- Inheritance rights – Inheritance of a portion of the estate in the event of death without a will – with an exemption from inheritance tax
- Pension rights – Entitlement to pension sharing and certain other benefits
- Tax benefits – Married Couple’s Allowance and transfer of assets tax-free
- Parental responsibility – Opposite-sex civil partners automatically have parental responsibility for a partner’s child if they are the child’s biological mother or father
Can a civil partnership be dissolved?
The dissolution of civil partnership process in England or Wales is known as ‘dissolving’, or civil partnership dissolution. The steps for dissolution are almost the same as those taken when filing for divorce.
You can only apply to dissolve your civil partnership if you’ve been in the partnership for a year or more. However, during the first year of your civil partnership, you can instead apply for a legal separation if you wish.
How much does a civil partnership dissolution cost?
Our fixed-fee service costs £199 and the civil partnership dissolution order must be submitted along with the court fee (currently £593). So in total the dissolution of civil partnership process in England or Wales will cost you £792 including VAT.
How long does a civil partnership dissolution take?
A typical civil partnership dissolution application will take roughly 6-7 months in the simplest of cases.
A new divorce law came into legal force in England and Wales on 6 April 2022 which also applies to civil partnership dissolution.
No-fault divorce is the new procedure and the main change is the removal of fault or blame from the process. Civil partners in England and Wales can now start proceedings without having to blame their ex-partner for the breakdown of the relationship.
Dissolution of civil partnership process
For more information see No-Fault Divorce Process as the dissolution of civil partnership process is much the same.
Civil Partnership Dissolution
If you want to end a civil partnership you need to apply to a court for the civil partnership to be dissolved.
Your civil partnership must have lasted for at least one year before you can apply for a dissolution order.
Give our civil partnership dissolution solicitors a call to speak to a member of our team in the strictest confidence. Or you can fill out our contact form and we’ll ring you back.
01793 384 029
Our phone lines are open Mon – Fri 9am – 5pm
- Our fixed-fee service includes VAT with no hidden extras
- We provide all forms that need completing and signing by both parties
- Add a consent order to sort your finances at the same time
Frequently Asked Questions
Can my ex-partner claim against any gifts I’ve received?
In England and Wales, an ex-civil partner may be able to make claims against any gifts or inheritances received by their ex-partner, even many years after the dissolution.
One way to help prevent any future claims is to obtain a clean break order from the court.
What is a civil partnership?
Civil partnership meaning – A civil partnership is a legal relationship registered by two people who aren’t related to each other. Registering a civil partnership gives the relationship legal recognition very similar to civil marriage by providing the same legal rights and legal responsibilities.
The legislation for civil partnerships was introduced in the Civil Partnership Act 2004 and the first civil partnership ceremonies took place in December 2005.
Initially the Act only permitted same-sex couples to form civil partnerships and was intended to give them a degree of protection under the law, like those afforded by heterosexual couples that were married. The Act was later updated to include opposite-sex couples in 2019.
What are the grounds for civil partnership dissolution?
The previous law required that you prove to the court that the civil partnership had ‘irretrievably broken down’ by proving at least one of the following grounds for civil partnership dissolution.
- Your partner has behaved unreasonably
- You and your partner have lived apart for two years and you both agree to the dissolution
- You and your partner must have lived apart for at least five years, if only one of you agrees to the dissolution
- Your partner deserted you at least two years ago
No-fault divorce ended the ‘blame game’ when it came into legal effect in England and Wales on 6 April 2022. The new law allows for a civil partnership dissolution without either party attributing fault or citing lengthy separation periods.
The new law has retained the irretrievable breakdown of the relationship as the sole ground for civil partnership dissolution. However, the requirement to specify one of the reasons for the civil partnership breakdown is replaced with a ‘statement of irretrievable breakdown’ – thereby eliminating the requirement to administer any blame.
Another key change to the law means that couples cannot contest the application, which means it will be granted by a Judge solely on the basis of the irretrievable breakdown of the relationship.
Why would a straight couple want a civil partnership?
Straight couples who are not religious will often choose to enter a civil partnership to take advantage of the various legal rights which are conferred by marriage, without the religious trappings.
Many cohabiting couples will also want access to the tax benefits enjoyed by married couples.
Some couples will decide to obtain a Cohabitation Agreement instead of entering civil partnerships.
This sets out what will happen to the couple’s finances and assets such as the family home, in the event of a breakup. But there is a lot more protection for both parties if they enter civil partnership.
Can I apply for a combined dissolution order and clean break?
Just as with divorce, when you apply for a dissolution order to dissolve a civil partnership it is highly recommended that a financial agreement is reached between both parties.
If you can arrange your finances at the same time as dissolving a civil partnership you can achieve a ‘clean break’. This ensures both parties can move on with their lives, knowing that neither can make any future financial claims.
Even if you have had a short civil partnership and there are no joint assets like property, savings or pensions it is still important to obtain a legally binding clean break order.
If you do have assets or property to deal with our Civil Partnership Dissolution & Clean Break Consent Order Service helps you to achieve a simple, affordable, and hassle-free dissolution whilst also dealing with separating your money and assets. (This is labelled ‘Managed Divorce & Consent Order’)
Using this service will also prevent any future claims from being made on inheritance money, future property purchases or pensions for example.
Our service is fully managed, you just need to provide the relevant financial information and then check and sign the drafted documents. Your personal case manager will be on hand to answer any questions.
This service suits those who want to include the below as part of their financial agreement:
- Clean break order – Preventing future claims.
- Sale or transfer of any property
- Personal belongings
- Child and/or Spousal maintenance
- Savings and/or Debt provisions
- Lump-sum payments
- Business assets or investments
- Division of pensions – See Managed dissolution & Consent Order With Pension Sharing for £599
Civil Partnership Dissolution & Clean Break Order Service
Civil Partnership Solicitors will manage your Civil Partnership Dissolution from start to finish, including all communication with the courts and also obtain your clean break order to put your financial settlement into legal effect.
This fixed-fee service costs just £499 including VAT and could save you over £1500.