Family Law Guide To Civil Partnership Dissolution

What about the costs?

The petitioner can ask the court to make an order for the dissolution costs (i.e. solicitor’s costs and Court fee) particularly if the petition is based on the respondent’s unreasonable behaviour.

If the respondent objects to paying costs then this can be stated in the Acknowledgment of Service and representations can be made at the conditional order hearing where the respondent or the respondent’s representative will have to demonstrate to the Court as to why a costs order should not be made.  Usually an agreement is arrived at when costs are being claimed to avoid the parties having to attend court on the issue.

How long will it take?

Even with both parties working together on achieving a quick resolution the whole process can still take months particularly if the court is stretched and takes a long time processing the documentation.  Normally the process takes between 4 to 6 months but which can be delayed if there are financial issues that have yet to be resolved.

What is the dissolution process?

If done correctly, Dissolution of Civil Partnerships are usually straight forward and can be administered at arm’s length rarely requiring the parties’ attendance at court.  Once a petition is drafted and signed, it is then forwarded to the court with the fee and civil partnership certificate and the court will then ‘issue’ the documents (i.e. place the court seal on the documents and open the court file which will begin the process) and will send them to the respondent along with a document called an Acknowledgement of Service. .

The Acknowledgement of Service must be completed and sent to the court within a narrow time frame indicating whether or not the respondent wishes to defend the petition. If there is no defence then once the court receives the acknowledgment of service, this is then forwarded to the petitioner with an ‘Application for a Dissoution Orderecree Nisi ’ together with as statement in support confirming that everything said within the petition  is true. Once completed and sent to the court the file will be presented to a judge who, if satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to grant the dissolution will grant a ‘Certificate of Entitlement to a Dissolution’ setting out the date that the ‘Conditional Order’ will be pronounced.

A ‘Conditional Order’ is a document which dissolves the civil partnership only partially and on the condition that it is done fully 6 weeks after the conditional oOrder has been granted. This finalisation process is called the Final Order.

What do I have to prove in order to get my civil partnership dissolved?

There is only one ground for dissolution namely that the civil partnership will have had to irretrievably broken down. In order to prove this a petitioner must establish one of four facts namely;

1. Unreasonable behaviour;

2. Separation for two years from the date of the petition which requires the respondent’s consent;

3. Separation for five years  from the date of the petition (requiring no consent);

4. Desertion.

What is a Civil Partnership Dissolution?

A Civil Partnership Dissolution is a process of ending Civil Partnership through the court. The party to the partnership who applies for the dissolution is called a petitioner and the other party who is being ‘petitioned’ against is called the respondent.  The petitioner and respondent are the ‘parties’ to the dissolution.

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