Divorce & Family
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What is a civil partnership?
A civil partnership is a formal legal relationship between a couple, which provides them with similar legal rights and responsibilities as married couples. Since 2018, both same-sex couples and heterosexual couples can enter into a civil partnership.
Why choose a civil partnership?
There are many reasons why couples opt for a civil partnership rather than marriage, including both personal reasons and religious beliefs.
Is a civil partnership different from a marriage?
Couples in a civil partnership share similar rights and responsibilities as married couples, including property rights and pension benefits. The dissolution process of a civil partnership in England and Wales, is also very similar to the divorce process.
How do you start the dissolution of a civil partnership?
In order to apply to dissolve your civil partnership, you must have been in the partnership for over a year. You will also need to provide us with your civil partnership certificate to enable us to start the dissolution process on your behalf, this will also need to be filed with the court.
Since April 2022, new ‘No Fault’ law has been in place. This means that you no longer need to rely on certain factors in order to dissolve a civil partnership, but rather you need to confirm to the court that the civil partnership has ‘broken down irretrievably’.
The dissolution process is started when an application is filed with the court. Applications can be made either solely or on a joint basis. There is also a court fee of £593.00 payable on submission of your dissolution application. Whilst it is possible to apply for a dissolution online, the benefit of instructing a solicitor to deal with your dissolution matters, will not only reduce the potential stress the proceedings may bring, but will also give you peace of mind that the application and other documents have been completed and filed with the court correctly.
Court staff are unable to provide you with legal advice and therefore cannot advise you about your rights. Problems may arise if documents are filed with the court incorrectly and this can lead to delays in finalising the dissolution of the civil partnership.
What is the process and timescales for dissolving a civil partnership?
Under the new ‘No Fault’ law, it will take at least 6 months to end a civil partnership.
If the application is made by one civil partner, rather than being a joint application, the court will send to the respondent a document called an ‘Acknowledgement of Service’ alongside the applicant’s court application. The respondent should complete this document and return it to the court within 14 days, confirming whether they intend to defend the dissolution or will allow it to proceed.
There are extremely limited circumstances in which a dissolution of a civil partnership can be defended, and it will often fall down to jurisdictional or legality issues. There is no longer the option for one partner to simply argue that they do not want the partnership to end.
Once the court has issued your application to end your civil partnership, you must wait 20 weeks before applying for a conditional order, this is known as the ‘cooling off period’ and allows time for reflection.
After this cooling off period, the court will send out a certificate of entitlement to a dissolution, followed by the conditional order, which means that the court is satisfied that the civil partnership should be dissolved.
The final order is the legal document that ends your civil partnership. You have to wait 6 weeks and one day after the date of the conditional order before applying for the final order. It is important to note that, just obtaining your final order does not sever your financial ties from your partner, you will also need a Consent Order to formalise the financial division.
How we can help
Our specialist team of family solicitors are able to assist you with the dissolution of your civil partnership, and will be able to provide you with the dissolution cost figure at the outset of your case, allowing you to budget in advance. Providing your dissolution is undisputed and does not have any added complications, you can expect to pay around £1,540.00 plus VAT.
Obtaining advice from the outset allows for a smoother and less stressful process. Dissolution, and in particular dealing with the financial matters and the child arrangements, can be complicated, but our experienced solicitors can help to guide you through the process.
We have a long history of successfully supporting clients through dissolution and divorce, and the associated financial matters and child arrangements. Our experienced team are here to guide you through this complex process and reduce any potential conflict between parties.
If you would like an initial consultation with our Family Law on-boarding specialists to discuss your options, please call us for free on 0800 470 0330.
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