Civil partners cannot obtain a judicial separation so to officially separate an order of dissolution is necessary.
Are you eligible to apply for a dissolution?
If you entered into a civil partnership and are now looking to end the relationship, certain criteria must be met:
- You must have been living apart for two out of the previous three years; and
- The court must be satisfied that proper provision has been or will be made for both civil partners and for any dependent children.
Unlike divorce, there is no requirements relating to the prospects of reconciliation.
At least one of you must have resolved that the relationship is at an end in order to satisfy the ‘living apart’ requirement.
A couple may be living apart although living in the same house provided they are living separate and independent lives. A lack of a sexual relationship is not enough on its own to be meet the living apart requirement.
Consequences of dissolving your civil partnership
The consequences of dissolution are largely the same as divorce.
Orders can be sought in relation to:
- Maintenance/periodical payments or lump sum payments
- Property Adjustment Orders
- Shared Home Orders
- Pension Adjustment Orders and Blocking Orders
- Financial Compensation Orders
Similar to divorce, there is no ‘clean break’ and it is open to either party to re-apply to the Court at a later date if there has been a significant change in circumstances.
Benefits of obtaining a dissolution
Following the dissolution, both parties are free to enter into a marriage with other people (no new civil partnerships can be registered since the passing of the Marriage Referendum in 2015).
Succession rights are extinguished so both partners can plan their estates as they see fit.
What does the Court look at?
Before making any orders, the Court will consider:
- The needs and resources of each civil partner
- Earnings, assets, debts and liabilities
- Accommodation needs
- Age and duration of the civil partnership
- The length of cohabitation as civil partners
- Contribution of each to their shared life
- Conduct (but only if it would be unjust to disregard it)
Please note that if you are considering dissolving your civil partnership in order to marry your civil partner, it is not necessary to do so. A civil partnership is automatically dissolved by the partners marrying.
If you entered into a civil partnership and would like legal advice, please contact our office for a confidential discussion.