Civil Partnerships and Dissolution
A civil partnership is a legal relationship between two people of the same sex which can be registered. The partners have rights and responsibilities towards each other that flow from this legal relationship.
We can advise when things go wrong. We can advise and represent you in ending the legal relationship (dissolution) and on ancillary matters such as arrangements for any children or financial claims.
The dissolution of a civil partnership is similar to the divorce process. It is usually conducted through the post. We can deal with this on your behalf at a fixed fee for a straightforward and undefended dissolution.
When a civil partnership comes to an end, either party can apply to dissolve the civil partnership. The court will not automatically address the financial division between partners in dissolution. Instead it is up to one or the other to make an application to the court if agreement cannot be reached. We can advise you on your claims and negotiate a settlement on your behalf hopefully without the court ever being involved, save than to ratify any agreement reached.
However some cases will of course demand urgent court action and we can represent on court applications as required. To prove that the relationship has irretrievably broken down, one or more of the following facts must be established:
- Your partner has behaved unreasonably and you cannot be expected to live together anymore;
- You and your partner have lived apart for 2 years and you both agree to the dissolution;
- You and your partner have lived apart for 5 years;
- Your partner has deserted you for a continuous period of two years immediately preceding the presentation of the application for dissolution.
On breakdown of a civil partnership, the Court can make various orders in relation to finances. Similar to ancillary relief proceedings following the breakdown of a marriage, the Court has power to make various orders including:
- Periodical payments (maintenance);
- Lump sum;
- Transfer of property (where legal ownership of an asset is transferred from one spouse to the other);
- Pension attachment and pension sharing orders.
The earliest time the Court can approve an agreement is after the conditional agreement has been made. It is however possible to negotiate an agreement through collaborative law or mediation, rather than making an application to Court. In most cases, the Court would seal the agreement reached but on occasions, it may ask for further information to be provided.
Legal aid is available to deal with several aspects of Family and Children work. If you do not qualify for legal aid, we offer high quality advice and representation on a privately funded basis at reasonable rates including a reduced fixed fee in divorce proceedings.