Civil Partnerships and same sex marriages are like traditional marriages in that they are a legal commitment of one person to another. The legal commitment can only be brought to an end by divorce within a marriage and dissolution of a civil partnership or, in either case, if one party dies. When couples form a Civil Partnership or marry there are certain rights which they both acquire, such as obligations to financially 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, Burn & Co Solicitors can advise you on how to obtain a dissolution of the Civil Partnership from the Court, and what financial claims you or your ex-partner may have against one another and in relation to the assets accrued during the Civil Partnership or marriage.

We can advise you about dividing capital and pensions, and whether either of you has a claim for spousal maintenance, especially if one of you has given up work to care for children of the relationship.

Although the process for this is quite similar to that for divorce, only a limited number of courts across the UK deal with the dissolution of civil partnerships.

The Court must be satisfied that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the Civil Partnership which must be established through 1 of 4 facts:

• Unreasonable behaviour

• Desertion

• 2 years separation by consent

• 5 years separation

Adultery is not a separate ground in the dissolution of a Civil Partnership, but infidelity which leads to irretrievable breakdown of a civil partnership can be classed as unreasonable behaviour. As with divorce, you can’t make an application to dissolve during the first year of your civil partnership.

As with divorce within traditional marriages, the court also has the range of financial orders available to it upon dissolution of a Civil Partnership.

When dissolving a Civil Partnership, there are two formal stages which must be completed. Once the Court has considered the application for dissolution and is satisfied that the Civil Partnership has broken down, a Conditional Order is granted. This Conditional Order can be made final after six weeks and one day has elapsed.

Children

For matters concerning children of the relationship, the Children Act 1989 is the relevant law which will apply to determine what orders, if any, are made relating to children adopted or born to parties in a civil partnership and where the partners have legal ‘parental responsibility’ for those children.

At Burn & Co Solicitors we explain everything in plain English, answering any questions you may have and making the process easy to understand. We also offer free, initial over-the-phone advice and will explain the estimated costs and timescales involved as soon as we can so you always know what to expect.

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