Civil Partnerships Disputes
The rules of civil partnerships, or same sex marriages, are similar to those that govern traditional marriages. They are a legal commitment, which can only end if dissolved, annulled or if one party dies. When couples form a Civil Partnership or marry they acquire legal rights, including financial support obligations to a partner and obligations to support any children of the relationship.
Dissolution of a Civil Partnership
If your civil partnership or marriage has broken down, we can advise you as to how to obtain a dissolution (similar to a divorce) from the court, and what financial claims you or your ex partner may have. You will need advice on how to divide capital and pensions, and whether either of you has a maintenance claim. The process for this is quite similar to that of divorce. A limited number of courts across the UK deal with the dissolution of civil partnerships and specialist advice should be sought. The court also has the range of financial orders available to it, which are similar to those available in divorce proceedings.
The grounds for a dissolution is the irretrievable breakdown of the Civil Partnership which must be established through 1 of 4 facts:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- 2 years separation by consent
- 5 years separation
Unlike heterosexual marriage, adultery is not a separate ground, but infidelity which leads to irretrievable breakdown of a civil partnership can amount to unreasonable behaviour. There can be advantages and disadvantages to using some of these facts. You can’t make an application to dissolve during the first year of your civil partnership
There are two formal stages in ending the relationship. Once the Court has considered the application for dissolution a conditional order is granted, which can be made final after six weeks and one day has elapsed.
The Children Act 1989 will apply to determine what orders, if any, are made relating to children adopted or born to parties in a civil partnership and for whom the partners have legal ‘parental responsibility’. Generally there is no presumption in favour of a biological parent. If the parents cannot agree arrangements for the children, the court will make an order for residence and contact. This dictates with whom the child lives and how much time the child will spend with the other parent.