How can I end my civil partnership?


Ending a civil partnership between a same-sex couple is the legal equivalent of a heterosexual couple filing for a divorce. The process is known as 'Dissolution of a Civil Partnership'.

There are three main stages to a dissolution:
  • Dissolution Petition
  • Conditional Dissolution Order
  • Final Dissolution Order

Can I end my civil partnership?

To obtain a dissolution, you must have been in a registered civil partnership for at least 12 months.

You have to apply to court for permission to end your civil partnership. You do this by completing a dissolution petition and stating the reasons why you want to end your partnership.

You do this by establishing 1 of 4 facts, which demonstrate your partnership has irretrievably broken down:

  • Your partner has behaved unreasonably and you can no longer be expected to live with them
  • You have lived separately for at least 2 years and you both agree to the dissolution
  • You have lived separately for at least 5 years - even if your partner does not agree to the dissolution
  • Your partner has deserted you and will not return

What is living separately?

This usually involves living in separate households. In certain circumstances, the court may allow the dissolution to proceed if the partners are still living together, for example if they have separate bedrooms, do not eat together or share household chores etc. The partner's lives must be separated from one another.

What is the process?

Once you have satisfied the court that your partnership has broken down irretrievably, they will confirm this in writing and grant a Conditional Dissolution Order. Six weeks after this you can apply for the Final Dissolution Order.

The final order is a legal document which ends your civil partnership.

To apply for this, you need your original Civil Partnership Certificate, along with details of any children and their current living arrangements.

Do I need a solicitor?

Your solicitor can explain the divorce process, start the dissolution process and keep you informed of how it is progressing. They will liaise with your partner's solicitors and the courts and act on your behalf. It is important that you tell your solicitor openly about your assets and arrangements for your children. A solicitor will help you to reach an agreement in regards to the family home, finances and child custody.

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