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Same-sex relationships


Same-sex relationships

Same-sex relationshipsSame-sex couples in a Civil Partnership are in an almost identical legal position to married couples if the civil partnership breaks down.

As with any other marriage, you cannot apply to bring a civil partnership legally to an end until it has lasted for at least one year. You will seek a dissolution rather than a divorce, however, the procedure is very similar. The first task will be to file a dissolution petition, which details the reasons for the relationship breakdown. As with divorce, there are four grounds upon which you may apply for a dissolution, including;

  1. unreasonable behaviour (which generally means that your partner’s behaviour is so intolerable you can no longer live with them and may include such actions as abuse or unfaithfulness);
  2. desertion;
  3. living apart for more than 2 years; and
  4. living apart for more than 5 years (if this is the case, living apart for more than 5 years is usually enough to end a civil partnership, even if your civil partner disagrees).

After this a conditional order can be applied for and, if your civil partner agrees to the dissolution, the order will be provided. You would then have to wait 7 weeks after the date of the conditional order to apply for a final order, which would end the marriage. The time between these two orders will give you a chance to discuss the finances and other issues with your civil partner. Following the granting of a conditional order, a financial order can be applied for to formalise any agreements you have come to.

Should your civil partner not agree to the ending of the partnership, you may still apply for a conditional order. You will then attend a hearing at court and the judge will make a decision regarding the ending of the partnership.

Civil partners have similar rights and responsibilities in respect of children and property, and any issues can be addressed via child arrangements orders. If the concerns are of a financial nature, they will be addressed in the aforementioned financial order.

If you are in a civil partnership and facing separation or the prospect of a dissolution we can advise you about your options and the likely outcome of your case.

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