Civil Partnership Divorce

 

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Dissolving a Civil Partnership – The Procedure

 

How do I start dissolving my civil partnership?
Firstly we recommend that you seek advice from a solicitor specialising in civil partnership divorce. Dissolving a civil partnership is still thankfully rare, with only around a thousand couples choosing to dissolve their civil partnership to date, but it will inevitably become more common. The right solicitor will not only be able to offer you some preliminary advice, but can also refer you to a counselling service if you are in any doubt that your partnership is really over.

 

Assuming that you satisfy the requirements for dissolving a civil partnership, you can only make the appropriate application in certain courts, i.e. the Principal Registry of the Family Division in London and the following county courts – Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Chester, Exeter, Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle. Your solicitor will handle all the paperwork, including preparing a statement of arrangements for any children involved.

 

How long does dissolving my civil partnership take?
This depends on many factors, predominantly how quickly your solicitor takes action and how responsive or cooperative your partner is. Your dissolution could all be over and done within four to six months of you starting the process, although if either you or your partner take longer to complete any of the necessary steps, or if there are problems with the court, it could take much longer.

 

Furthermore, your solicitor may well advise you to delay the final order (see below) for financial reasons. Amongst other reasons, finalising the dissolution of your civil partnership before finalising any financial settlement could leave you vulnerable to losing potential pension and death in-service benefits.

 

Court Procedure
Like divorce, the procedure of civil partnership dissolution starts with an application for dissolution – the ‘petition’ – setting out details of your civil partnership and the grounds on which you are saying that it has broken down. Your solicitor will also need to prepare additional documents, including a statement to handle the care arrangements of any children.

 

The dissolution itself happens in two stages. Firstly, the court will give you a conditional order – this later becomes a final order. They will start the dissolution process when they have received from you and your solicitor the dissolution petition, the civil partnership certificate, the fee of £340 (as at Jan 2011), plus any additional documents required. The court will give your case a reference number so that they can open a file, and either send the papers directly to your partner or back to your solicitor for forwarding to your partner or their solicitor, depending on your wishes.

Once your partner has received the dissolution papers, they need to return a form to the court to both confirm that they have received the papers and to state whether they consent to the dissolution or not. The court will forward a copy of this form to either you or your solicitor. However, occasionally a partner will fail to return the form – in this case, and if you are unable to prove that they received the initial set of petition documents, you might have to ask for another set of the documents and make sure that these are handed (served) to them personally, perhaps by a process server such as a private detective.

If your partner consents to the dissolution, you must then confirm that everything stated in the civil partnership dissolution petition is true, and inform the courts if anything has changed since you started proceedings. Once you have sworn a statement to this effect, you are able to apply for a conditional order.

Next, the court will examine your case, and subject to the district judge agreeing your entitlement to a dissolution, a date will be set upon which the conditional order will formally come into effect. This could be anything from a week to a month after the judge has authorised the dissolution. You don’t have to go to court to hear this pronouncement, however you should be aware that it is only the first stage of the dissolution order and you are still officially civil partners until the final order has been granted.

Once six weeks have passed after the date of the conditional order, you are able to apply for the final dissolution order, which will cost you another £45 in court fees. Once this final order has been made, your civil partnership is formally dissolved.

Thinking of dissolving your Civil Partnership – contact us today

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Dissolving a Civil Partnership – UK Solicitors specialising in the Dissolving Civil Partnerships

Bonallack & Bishop Solicitors (76483) – authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority

 

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