Is Ending a Civil Partnership the Same Process as Divorce?

Farah Naz
Author:
Farah Naz
Family Law Solicitor
Date:
13/09/2021

The process and procedure of ending a civil partnership or same-sex marriage is virtually the same as the divorce process following a heterosexual marriage. In normal circumstances, this is a paper procedure via the Courts, starting with a dissolution or divorce petition.

The most significant difference is that when choosing which ground to use in the petition to show the breakdown of your marriage, same-sex couples cannot rely on Adultery.

The reason for this lies in the very traditional and mainly religious basis for current divorce law, which even today still defines adultery as:

‘…voluntary sexual intercourse between a man and a woman who are not married to each other but one of whom is married to someone else.’

So the definition does not apply to same-sex physical relationships, but that is not to say that an affair, whether emotional or physical, cannot form the basis for a divorce or dissolution. Instead, you can use the Unreasonable Behaviour ground in the petition.

It often comes as a surprise that the last divorce law dates back to 1973, almost 50 years ago, and many people feel that as with many other aspects of Family Law, there needs to be change to bring the law more in line with modern day families. But as the recent No Fault Divorce reform shows, progress in this area is never swift.

Famous Couple Rylan and Dan End Civil Partnership

Rylan-Clark Neal, the host of the much loved radio and TV shows recently announced his separation from his husband, former Met Officer Dan, on This Morning. The couple, who entered into a civil partnership in November 2015, made history by being the first same-sex couple to host an episode of This Morning and the announcement came as a surprise to many.

Rylan commented, “I have made a number of mistakes, which I deeply regret and have inevitably led to the breakdown of our marriage.”

Though understandably, the couple have not released further details of the circumstances of their separation.

Although they confirmed the breakdown of the marriage, it is not known whether formal proceedings have been commenced to legally end their union, or when that may happen if at all.

It is important to remember that such steps are significant and can be an emotional step, and is not something anyone should feel forced or rushed to do before they are ready.

At Simpson Millar, we have a team of dedicated Family Law Specialists who can help you dissolve your marriage or civil partnership in a supportive and professional environment. If you need guidance on where to go after the breakdown of your relationship, get in touch with us today.

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