If your relationship has broken down and you are separating from a civil partner, it is likely to be an emotional time. There will be a lot to think about and getting specialist legal advice can help you make the right decisions regarding your finances, any children, and your future.
How do I end my civil partnership?
Unlike ending a marriage, civil partners cannot get a divorce and instead the partnership must be dissolved. However, the steps to ending a civil partnership are very similar to a divorce in so much as you need to apply to the court and will first be granted a conditional order and then a final order. Provided the process is managed properly it is relatively straightforward. A few things you should bear in mind before getting the ball rolling:
- The partnership needs to have lasted at least a year before you can apply to the court to end a civil partnership.
- You do not need grounds for the dissolution, simply that the relationship has broken down irretrievably.
- It will take at least six months to finalise.
- It is important to remember that it changes your legal status.
- Either or both partners can apply to end the partnership.
- The current cost is £593 to file the appropriate forms requesting the partnership is dissolved.
- Obtaining a dissolution in Scotland or Northern Ireland is different from in England and Wales.
Will I need to go to court?
Ending a partnership normally means that you will need to consider and talk to your ex-partner about how to divide the property, sort the finances, and make arrangements for any children as soon as you can. Provided you agree on these matters you can usually avoid having to go to court. There are no rules about how financial or family matters should be agreed and what is important is that the arrangement is workable. You do not need any paperwork but if you want your arrangement to be legally binding a lawyer will be able to draft an agreement recognised by the court.
If you cannot agree, then litigation may be the only and best option.
How will our assets be divided?
The dissolution of a civil partnership has the same effect as a divorce so the starting point for dividing the assets is 50/50 but both parties will have financial claims. If you and your ex-partner can agree on how things should be settled this will be the cheapest and fastest way to proceed.
There can be significant variations in agreements however, and no one size fits all. For example, maintenance payments may be required if one party is dependent on the other or if there is a large discrepancy of income between the two parties. A mediator or lawyer can help you reach agreement on how to divide the assets and it is generally beneficial to sort this before applying to the court for the final order.
We know that a relationship breakdown for those in a civil partnership is no different from the stresses of a breakdown between married couples. We are happy to discuss the implication of the financial split in your case if you are contemplating such a step, which might also have an impact on the children and involve possible international relocation or a leave to remove application.
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