As family law experts we’re used to dealing with issues such as wills and probate, divorce and children disputes. We handle every case with the same combination of legal expertise and empathetic support. That’s because we understand that people need legal advice which is based on experience and a detailed understanding of the law, but at the same time, they want the help of people who understand the stress they might be going through. To make sure we can offer a comprehensive service at all times we work to stay completely up to date with the latest developments in family law, and that’s why we’re the best people to call if you ever need civil partnership solicitors.
You may need the advice of civil partnership solicitors because you’re thinking of entering into a civil partnership and would like to know exactly what it entails. The Civil Partnership Act 2004 made it possible for same-sex couples over the age of 16 to register their relationship as a civil partnership. This meant that the couple in question had almost exactly the same legal status as a heterosexual married couple. The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, which came into force in March 2014 took this process a stage further, making it possible for same sex couples to legally marry, but some couples still prefer the civil partnership option.
Why Choose Civil Partnership?
Our civil partnership solicitors are used to answering questions about civil partnerships for those couples who feel that conventional marriage is not for them. For some couples, it will be a question of seeking the financial and legal status of marriage without having to do something which has religious overtones. Others might object to the more traditional nature of marriage, and in particular concepts such as the bride being ‘given away’ by her father. For couples such as these, a civil partnership is simply a more modern approach to the issue of becoming a partnership. The civil partnership solicitors at Higgins Miller will be able to detail how the process works:
- Give notice in person at your local register office. You need to have resided in the area for at least seven days before doing so.
- Provide the date of the registration itself and the address of the venue.
- Personal details of both partners, including name, age, nationality and address, and whether they have been married or in a civil partnership previously.
- Provide documents proving your identities, such as a passport or birth certificate. More documents may be required if one of the partners is currently subject to immigration controls.
The partnership will be registered officially once both partners have signed the Partnership Registration in front of a registrar and two witnesses.
Civil Partnership Dissolution
Just like any other relationship, a civil partnership can break down, and this is when our expertise as civil partnership solicitors really comes into its’ own. We understand the stress and emotional upheaval involved when a relationship ends and always work with clients to guide them through the process as calmly and clearly as possible. Our aim is to reach an agreement between the two parties as quickly as possible, as long as it respects the rights of our client and is completely fair. In order to seek dissolution of a civil partnership – the technical term for ending the relationship – it has to be shown that the relationship has completely broken down. This can be for one of the four reasons given below:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- Desertion for two years or longer
- Separation for two years if the partner consents
- Separation for five years if the partner doesn’t consent
Technically, adultery can’t be given as grounds for dissolution, since the legal term ‘adultery’ only applies to relationships between a man and a woman. If one partner has committed adultery, however, then this could be classed as ‘unreasonable behaviour’.
The process of dissolution is actually relatively simple. Provided one of the reasons given above applies, a dissolution petition form needs to be completed and sent to the nearest court handling civil partnerships. The court will then issue a document stating that there is no reason why the partnership should not be dissolved. This is known as a conditional order. An application then has to be made for a final order and, providing everything has been done properly, the court will grant the final order, officially ending the civil partnership. Although this sounds straightforward, working with our expert civil partnership solicitors will ensure that every stage of the process is completed as it should be and the court won’t find any reason to refuse the application.
Aside from the technical issue of dissolving the partnership, the end of a relationship will also require arrangements regarding finances, living arrangements and the care of any children involved. All of these have the potential to cause arguments and conflict, particularly amidst the heightened emotions of a relationship ending. Our civil partnership solicitors work with clients to try to reach agreements which both sides can agree to, as we understand from experience that avoiding having to go to court will reduce both the costs of any dissolution and the stress involved. If an agreement isn’t possible, however, we have the expertise needed to represent you in court and fight for the agreement you deserve.
If you’d like to find out more about our civil partnerships, 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. This initial contact can ensure that you understand what a civil partnership is and how the dissolution process works and can feel able to move forward with confidence. If you want to explore our wider charging system then please take a look here.