Our experience in family law means that the solicitors at Higgins Miller are experts when it comes to dealing with issues such as wills and probate, adoption and divorce. Issues of this kind tend to be stressful by their very nature, and we see it as part of our job to offer emotional support as well as legal expertise. We understand that, for many people, dealing with these problems will represent the first time they’ve had to interact with legal professionals, and that this can be a daunting prospect. In recent years, our expertise has been applied to the issue of civil partnership dissolution UK, and helping couples in a civil partnership to deal with the end of a relationship in the least stressful and upsetting manner possible.
A civil partnership dissolution UK will be needed when a couple has entered into the legal union of a civil partnership but now feel that the relationship has run its course. Civil partnerships were originally introduced by the UK government in 2004 as a means of enabling same-sex couples to register their relationship on a legal basis, with rights and responsibilities similar to a married couple. In 2018, the right to enter into a civil partnership was extended to heterosexual couples and, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the figures for civil partnerships in England and Wales in 2020 (the last year for which figures have been published) were as follows:
- There were 7,566 opposite-sex civil partnerships
- There were 785 same-sex civil partnerships
Clearly, the more people choose to enter into civil partnerships, the greater the demand is likely to be for expertise in civil partnership dissolution UK, and we pride ourselves on helping couples to work through the end of their civil partnership with as little conflict or stress as possible. In many ways, the process for ending a civil partnership in the UK is similar to that which applies to a divorce, with a court issuing the final order which formally dissolves the civil partnership. In order to apply for a dissolution, the couple in question has to have been in a civil partnership for at least 12 months, and need to be able to produce the civil partnership certificate they were originally presented with, or at least a certified copy, as this document will need to be lodged with the court when the process of civil partnership dissolution UK begins.
The grounds under which a couple can seek civil partnership dissolution UK are changing on 6th April 2022 in the same way in which the basis for seeking a divorce is changing. Prior to this, the person seeking to dissolve a civil partnership would have to be able to demonstrate that their partner had engaged in unreasonable behaviour, or that they had been deserted by their partner for a period of at least 2 years if the partner consented to dissolve the partnership and 5 years if the partner didn’t agree. Prior to the change in the law the grounds of adultery, which applied to divorces, were not applicable in cases of civil partnership dissolution UK.
Under the new law, all that will be needed for the civil partnership to be dissolved will be for one partner to provide a statement setting out that the partnership has broken down irretrievably. The process starts when one half of the partnership – known as the ‘applicant’ – lodges an application with the court and pays the relevant fees which, at the time of writing, are £593. From April 2022 it is possible to make a joint application for a civil partnership dissolution UK, which will involve applicant 1 and applicant 2. Once filled out, the application will detail the civil partnership, the parties involved and the fact that this partnership has broken down irretrievably.
If the application is being made by one partner then the court will send a copy to the other partner, known as the ‘respondent’. The respondent then has 14 days in which to fill in an acknowledgement of service to confirm receipt of the application and return this to the court, which will then send a copy to the original applicant.
If the respondent agrees with the civil partnership dissolution UK it will be uncontested, while if the respondent doesn’t agree then they will have 21 days to tell the court why. Following the change of law on 6th April 2022 there are very few grounds on which dissolution can be contested, as a civil partner is no longer able to simply claim that the partnership hasn’t actually broken down.
Following the original application there is a 20-week cooling-off period until the dissolution can be progressed. This period is designed to give the applicant time to reflect on their decision and make sure that it really is what they want to do. After the 20 weeks have passed the applicant will have to complete a statement which confirms the contents of the original application, which they then have to send to the court. Provided that all of the documents in question are completed properly when checked by the court, then the court will issue a certificate of entitlement to a dissolution, which is also known as making a conditional order. At this point in the proceedings, the court has found that the application is in order and the dissolution can be granted, but the civil partnership has not yet been dissolved. The actual civil partnership dissolution UK can take place six weeks and one day later, the date on which the applicant can apply for a ‘final order’, the name for the legal document which formally ends the civil partnership. If three months pass and the applicant doesn’t make this application for a final order, the respondent can do so instead.
There are two reasons why it is wise to seek the advice of legal experts like those at Higgins Miller when seeking a civil partnership dissolution UK. The first of these is that we will be able to ensure that every stage of the process and every piece of paperwork is completed correctly, as any mistakes could cause stressful delays. The second reason is that many civil partnership dissolutions may require a financial settlement or negotiations on issues such as child support. Our expert team will always advise clients to try to resolve issues of this kind through calm negotiation and/or mediation rather than conflict, and will be on hand to offer all of the expert advice needed. We know that the end of any relationship is always bound to be upsetting, so we do everything we can to keep this upset to a minimum and enable our clients to move on with the rest of their lives.
If you want to find out more about civil partnership dissolution UK please call us on 0161 429 7251 or email us at [email protected]. We’ve recently passed our Cyber Essential accreditation, something which demonstrates our forward-thinking attitude and determination to remain ahead of the competition. The first 20-minute appraisal is provided free of charge, and we’ll give you the first appointment for a fixed fee, so you don’t have to worry about how much our advice is going to cost. If you want to explore our wider charging system then please take a look here.