Civil Partnerships

Our civil partnership lawyers and solicitors provide expert advice on all aspects of civil partnerships including relationship breakdown and divorce (officially known as a dissolution order).

On 5 December 2005 the Civil Partnership Act 2004 came into effect allowing same sex couples to enter into a ceremony similar to a marriage. In the unfortunate event of a breakdown of such a relationship the process for ending a civil partnership is broadly similar to that for divorce.

The most usual way to end a civil partnership is through a Dissolution Order. To apply to the Court for a Dissolution Order your civil partnership must have lasted for at least one year. You need to prove to the Court that your relationship has irretrievably, that is permanently, broken down and you must be able to establish one of the following:

  • your partner has behaved unreasonably
  • you and your partner have lived apart for two years, and that you both agree to the dissolution
  • you and your partner 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

Your petition for a Dissolution Order is lodged at Court and sent to your partner. If your partner agrees to the dissolution then you can apply to the Court for a Conditional Dissolution Order.

Six weeks after the Conditional Order is pronounced an application can be made for the Final Dissolution Order, although it is usual to postpone any application for a Final Order until such time as any financial issues have been resolved. Advice regarding the resolution of financial matters can be found within our Family Finances section