Dissolution of civil partnership is a legal process to end civil partnership in England after the relationship between the civil partners has broken down irretrievably. Your civil partnership can be dissolved in England & Wales only after 1 year of registration of your civil partnership. An application for civil partnership dissolution in England & Wales is made using application form D8.

Specialist Dissolution Lawyers

Dissolution lawyers at Sunrise Solicitors are specialists in dealing with civil partnership dissolution matters. Our civil partnersip dissolution lawyers have wealth of knowledge and experience in civil partnership dissolution matters.

Thinking of dissolution of your civil partnership? Contact our expert team of civil partnership dissolution lawyers in LondonManchester and Birmingham for fast, friendly, reliable and fixed fee legal services for dissolution of civil partnership. Ask a question to our expert civil partnership dissolution solicitors for free advice online for dissolution of civil partnership by completing our enquiry form and one of our legal experts will answer your question as soon as possible.

When Can You Get Dissolution Of Your Civil Partnership In The UK?

You can get civil partnership dissolved in England or Wales if all of the following are true:

  • you’ve been in civil partnership for over a year
  • your relationship has permanently broken down
  • your civil partnership is legally recognised in the UK
  • the UK is your permanent home, or the permanent home of your civil partner

If you do not want dissolution of your civil partnership, you can get Judicial Separation so you can live apart without ending the civil partnership. You might also be able to annul the civil partnership. You can apply for separation or annulment during your first year of civil partnership.

How To Apply For Dissolution Of Civil Partnership?

To end a civil partnership, you first need to fill in a civil partnership dissolution form D8. You must include your:

  • full name and address
  • civil partner’s full name and address
  • civil partnership certificate - send the original certificate or get a copy from a register office

Include the names and dates of birth of any children (no matter how old they are). You must try to find your civil partner’s current address if you do not know it. The court will need it to send them a copy of the dissolution application.

You must send paperwork to a court to ask for permission to end your civil partnership.

Separate from the paperwork, you and your ex-partner may need to work out:

You also need to divide your money and property. There’s a deadline if you want to make this legally binding.

You can usually avoid going to court hearings if you agree about children, money and property and the reasons for ending your civil partnership.

What Are Various Grounds For Ending Civil Partnership?

When you apply for dissolution of civil partnership you’ll need to prove that your civil partnership has broken down irretrievably and cannot be saved. This means that either one or both of you feel that you cannot stay in civil partnership with each other. Either of you may apply to the court in England and Wales for the civil partnership to be dissolved as long as you have been in civil partnership for one year at least and that one of you has been a resident here for the year before your application is made. The application to the court is called a Petition and the partner who files (sends) the Petition is called the Petitioner. The other partner is then called the Respondent. You’ll need to give one or more of the following 5 reasons (also known as ‘facts’).

There are 5 grounds for dissolution of civil partnership which are as follows:

  • Adultery - Your civil partner had sexual intercourse with someone else (committed adultery) and you find it intolerable to live with him or her. In most cases you prove adultery by your your civil partner admitting it. If not, you will need to speak to your family law solicitor. If you carry on living with your civil partner for more than six months after you find out about the adultery, you will generally not be able to use this as ground for dissolution unless the adultery is continuing.
  • Unreasonable Behaviour - Your civil partner has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with him or her. This covers all sorts of bad behaviour. You need to think about the main things that have made your civil partner difficult to live with. These are summed up in the petition (the application for dissolution of civil partnership) in a few short paragraphs. Our team of divorce & family law solicitors will aim to send a draft copy to your civil partner or his/her appointed family law solicitors for an agreement. As with adultery, you cannot rely on single event that took place more than six months before you file your petition, if you have lived together since then. The examples of unreasonable behaviour could include:
    • physical violence;
    • verbal abuse, such as insults or threats
    • drunkenness or drug-taking
    • refusing to pay towards shared living expenses
  • Desertion Of The Petitioner By The Respondent - Your civil partner has deserted you for a period of more than two years. Desertion means leaving your civil partner without his or her agreement and without good reason. The petitioner can apply for dissolution of civil partnership on the grounds that the Respondent deserted the petitioner more than 2 years ago and the civil partnership has broken down irretrievably.
  • 2 Years Separation And Respondent Consenting To Dissolution Of Civil Partnership - You have lived separately for more than two years and your civil partner (the respondent to the dissolution of civil partnership petition) consents to the dissolution of civil partnership. This is often called a 'no-fault' dissolution of civil partnership. You can have had periods of living together as long as they do not add up to more than six months and you have been apart for least two years altogether. Your civil partner must agree in writing. It may be possible for you to show that you’ve been separated while living in the same home as your civil partner as long as you’re not living together as a couple (for example you sleep and eat apart).
  • 5 Years Separation - You have lived separately for more than 5 years. Your civil partner who is repondent to the dissolution of civil partnership petition does not need to agree to this. The Respondent cannot defend the dissolution of civil partnership petition on this ground but he/she can ask the court not to grant the final decree because of a major financial or other type of hardship.

Court Procedure For Ending Civil Partnership

Following is the step by step procedure for getting civil partnership dissolved in the UK:

  1. The petitioner would file the dissolution petition in the court by completing civil partnership dissolution form D8 and send the form with the relevant enclosures to the court;
  2. Within a few days of getting the dissolution petition, the court would write to the petitioner or his/her solicitors confirming the receipt of the dissolution petition;
  3. The court will then send a copy of your dissolution petition to your civil partner (respondent). If your civil partner has instructed solicitors to act for him/her, a copy of the dissolution petition would be sent to them. If you applied for dissolution on adultery grounds and named the other party who committed adultery with your civil partner, a copy of the dissolution petition would also be sent to such other named party;
  4. Within 8 days of receiving the dissolution petition, the respondent is required to send a reply by post to your dissolution petition stating whether or not he/she intends to contest the dissolution. The respondent must respond within 7 days in case of online response where the dissolution petition was filed by your civil partner online;
  5. If your civil partner (respondent) does not contest the dissolution, you can then apply for Conditional Order Of Dissolution. If your civil partner does contest the dissolution, you’re still able to apply for final dissolution order, but you’ll need to attend a court hearing where your case will be discussed. A family court judge will then decide whether to grant you a Conditional Order Of Dissolution. If your dissolution petition is approved by the court, you and your civil partner (respondent) will be sent certificates stating the time and date when dissolution will be granted. If your dissolution petition is rejected, you may be sent a form called a ‘notice of refusal of judge’s certificate’ giving reasons why you are not permitted to dissolution. This form will also tell you what steps to take next. For example, you might be asked to provide additional information or you might be required to attend a hearing;
  6. After 6 weeks and 1 day of conditional order of dissolution being granted by the court, you can then apply for a dissolution order. Before applying for a dissolution order, you have to submit a financial settlment application if there are assets and money of which settlement is required. Once you have decree absolute, your civil partnership is officially dissolved and you are no longer in civil partnership.

How Long Does It Take?

This varies from court to court and from case to case, depending on the complexity of the case. An uncontested dissolution can take from 4 to 6 months whereas a contested and complicated dissolution can take much longer than 6 months and time would vary depending on the complexity of the matter.

How Can We Help?

Dissolution and separation is a very difficult decision to make and should never be taken lightly. Our team of family law solicitors is aware of the sensitivity in this matter and every individual is in a different situation. To make your life easier, you can seek expert legal help from the family law solicitors at Sunrise Solicitors. Our team of family law solicitors are highly trained and experienced in all aspects of dissolution law and will guide and support you each step of the way. We will cut through the legal jargon and ensure you understand exactly what’s happening at all times. Our team of expert family law solicitors will provide the required legal help and guidance with step by step procedure for getting civil partnership dissolved in the UK.

Our team of family law solicitors will advise and assist to cater for your individuals needs. We will discuss the possible grounds on which you can apply for dissolution after gathering all the factual information from you. We will explain to you the court procedures in very simple and clear terms and fully guide you through the procedures and carry out all the follow up work until the Decree Absolute is issued by the family court.

How Much Sunrise Solicitors Charge For Dissolution Of Civil Partnership?

Unless your matter is very complicated, our fees for dissolution of civil partnership are as given in the fee table below:

Our Services Fixed Fee Range Hourly Rate Range

Full service to cover all our work on your application for dissolution of civil partnership until final decision by the court on your civil partnership dissolution application.

From £700 + VAT to £1,200 + VAT From £150 + VAT to £250 + VAT Per Hour

How Much Is The Court Fee For Dissolution Of Civil Partnership?

  • The court fee for filing dissolution in the family court is £550 which has to be paid at the time of filing for dissolution. Petitioners with very low income may qualify for court fee exemption.

FAQs - Civil Partnership Dissolution

What is civil partnership dissolution?

Civil partnership dissolution in England & Wales is a legal process to end civil parnership between civil partners after the relationship between them has broken down irretrievably. An application for civil partnership dissolution in England & Wales is made using application form D8.

How soon can I get my civil partnership dissolved in England & Wales after registration of my civil partnership?

You can get your civil partnership dissolved in England & Wales only after you have been in civil partnership for at least one year.

If your civil partnership was not consummated, you may be able to apply for annulment of your civil partnership even if you have been in civil partnership for less than a year.

What are the requirements to end civil partnership in England & Wales?

You can end your civil partnership in England & Wales if all of the following are true:

  • you’ve been in civil partnership for over a year
  • your relationship has permanently broken down
  • your civil partnership is legally recognised in England & Wales (including same-sex marriage)
  • Either you or your civil partner is habitually resident in England & Wales
What is a 'clean break' civil partnership?

A clean break civil partnership is where no ongoing financial commitments remain between you and your civil partner. The phrase ‘a clean break’ is particularly used as the opposite of an order where there is ongoing spousal maintenance payable, usually monthly, from one partner to the other.

A clean break is only possible in relation to the financial claims between civil partners. It is not possible to have a clean break in relation to financial obligations towards your children.

In case you and your ex-partner have no assets to divide, you should also apply for a financial settlement order. It’s important to do so, even if you don’t have any assets to divide at the time of the civil partnership dissolution. There’s no guarantee you won’t come into some money in the future and if you haven’t obtained a financial settlement, your ex is still within their legal rights to make a financial claim.

Once a 'clean break' agreement of this kind has been ratified by court order, neither of you will be able to go back to court in the future to ask for maintenance or further transfer of assets. This gives both partners a much greater degree of certainty and allows them to completely disentangle their individual financial affairs.

Can I end civil partnership in England & Wales if I got married abroad?

Yes, you can start divorce proceedings in England provided that you have a valid civil partnership certificate (and certified translation, if the civil partnership certificate is not written in English). The key issue is determining whether the civil partnership is valid and legal in the country within which the ceremony took place, with the local custom being observed. If the civil partnership has been carried out in accordance with the local laws and customs of the country in which it took place, it is usually a valid legal civil partnership.

You should also meet all of the following requirements for ending civil partnership in England & Wales:

  • you’ve been in civil partnership for over a year
  • your relationship has permanently broken down
  • your civil partnership is legally recognised in England & Wales (including same-sex marriage)
  • Either you or your civil partner is habitually resident in England & Wales
What other matters may also arise in civil partnership dissolution proceedings?

Depending on the personal circumstances of the petitioner and the Respondent, the following other matters may also arise in the divorce proceedings:

How long does the civil partnership dissolution process take?

This varies from court to court and from case to case, depending on the complexity of the case. An uncontested civil partnership dissolution with no financial settlement issues can take up to 6 months whereas a contested and complicated civil partnership dissolution can take much longer than 6 months and time would vary depending on the complexity of the matter.

How much does it cost to file a civil partnership dissolution in England?

The court fee for filing a civil partnership dissolution in England & Wales is £550 which needs to be paid at the time of submitting your civil partnership dissolution petition to the family court.

What is difference between uncontested and contested civil partnership dissolution in England?

Uncontested Civil Partnership Dissolution

An uncontested civil partnership dissolution is a dissolution process where the Respondent to the civil partnership dissolution does not defend or contest the ending of civil partnership. It is possible for the Respondent to disagree with the grounds for civil partnership dissolution yet agree to civil partnership dissolution taking place on the grounds that the relationship has irretrievably broken down between the Petitioner and the Respondent.

Contested Civil Partnership Dissolution

A contested civil partnership dissolution is one where the Respondent to the dissolution petition decides to contest or defend the civil partnership dissolution. In other words, Respondent objects to civil partnership dissolution taking place in a contested civil partnership dissolution. A contested civil partnership dissolution is a more complicated procedure and will involve the couple having to attend family court for hearings. In very rare cases, Respondent can succeed in contesting a civil partnership dissolution in England & Wales. In the event of Resondent failing to defend the civil partnership dissolution, the family court is likely to make a legal costs order against the Resondent.

What are grounds for ending civil partnership in England & Wales?

There are 5 grounds for ending civil partnership in England & Wales which are as follows:

  • Adultery - The Petitioner alleges that the Respondent committed adultery and the civil partnership has broken down irretrievably.
  • Unreasonable Behaviour - The Petitioner alleges that the Respondent has behaved unreasonably and the civil partnership has broken down irretrievably.
  • Desertion Of The Petitioner By The Respondent - The petitioner can apply for civil partnership dissolution on the grounds that the Respondent deserted the petitioner more than 2 years ago and the civil partnership has broken down irretrievably.
  • 2 Years Separation And Respondent Consenting To Ending Civil Partnership - Petitioner and Respondent have lived separately for 2 years; Respondent consents to end civil partnership and the civil partnership has broken down irretrievably.
  • 5 Years Separation - Petitioner and Respondent lived separately for 5 years and the civil partnership has broken down irretrievably.
What is a conditional order of dissolution?

A conditional order of dissolution is a document that says that the court does not see any reason why you cannot end civil partnership. You can apply for a conditional order of dissolution if your civil partner does not defend your civil partnership dissolution petition.

What is a final dissolution order?

The final dissolution order is the legal document that ends your civil partnership. You need to wait at least 43 days (6 weeks and 1 day) after the date of the conditional order of dissolution before you can apply for a final dissolution order.

What documentary evidence do I need to apply for civil partnership dissolution?

To apply for a civil partnership dissolution you’ll need:

  • your civil partner’s full name and address
  • your original civil partnership certificate or a certified copy (and a certified translation if it’s not in English)
  • proof of your name change if you’ve changed it since you registered your civil partnership - for example your civil partnership certificate or a deed poll

You must try to find your civil partner’s current address if you do not know it. The court will need it to send them a copy of the civil partnership dissolution petition.