Civil partnership dissolution and same sex divorce

The Civil Partnership Act 2004 (the Act) came into effect on 5 December 2005 affording registered same sex partners very similar rights and responsibilities to those of married couples.

From 2 December 2019 the Act was amended to allow opposite-sex couples to register a civil partnership in England and Wales.

A civil partnership can be terminated on the grounds of nullity, or by either party applying for dissolution, a separation order, or presumption of death order.

 

Dissolution of a civil partnership

The basis upon which a partnership can be dissolved is that the 'civil partnership has broken down irretrievably'. No application for dissolution can be made within a year of registration.

If you are going through a break down in your relationship it is important that you receive sympathetic but clear legal advice. Furley Page has experience of advising on the dissolution of Civil Partnerships.

Financial provisions upon dissolution of a civil partnership

The grounds for claiming that the civil partnership has broken down are very similar to divorce, namely;

  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • 2 years separation with consent
  • 5 years separation
  • 2 years desertion

The Courts will have powers to make provision for financial relief in the same way as upon the breakdown of a marriage. The Court may make;

  • Maintenance and lump sum orders
  • Property adjustment orders
  • Orders for sale
  • Pension sharing orders

In certain circumstances civil partners may not wish to apply for dissolution of the civil partnership and instead may apply for a separation order. A separation order is similar to a judicial separation.

Proceedings may be commenced within the first year of the partnership. The applicant will have to establish one of the four facts listed above, but there is no requirement to establish that the partnership has irretrievably broken down.

Same sex divorce

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 enabled same-sex couples to marry, either in a civil ceremony (ie a register office or approved premises). Or on religious premises with the marriage being solemnised through a religious ceremony.

The key provision is that such marriages are the same as marriages between a man and a woman under the law of England and Wales

The divorce process is the same save that only four facts apply because adultery is defined in legislation as only relating to conduct between the respondent and a person of the opposite sex.

A relationship between the respondent and a person of the same-sex can instead fall within the category of unreasonable behaviour.  Our family lawyers will advise you on the specifics of preparation of the petition.

The Court can make exactly the same range of orders for financial provision, or in relation to children for a same sex couple on divorce, as they can for a heterosexual couple.

Choose Furley Page for advice Civil Partnerships and same sex divorce

Our Family law team has been dealing with civil partnership disputes since dissolutions became possible in 2007, so we have considerable experience in this area of law. We can also advise you on same sex divorce.