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Ending a Civil Partnership 'Legally'

You can use legal methods through the courts to dissolve the bond if a civil partnership breaks down. This section explains how to end a civil partnership using a process of dissolution. Note: The United Kingdom recognises a civil partnership as a legal relationship between two people of the same sex.

Check You Can Dissolve a Civil Partnership

It is a relationship whereby both partners usually work things out between themselves. They make decisions like a team would, even if they do not always agree with each other.

But, it is only registered civil partnerships that have the same rights and responsibilities that marriages do (in the United Kingdom).

Much like getting a divorce, you can also apply to ‘dissolve’ (end) a civil partnership. Even so, you would need to have been in the partnership for at least one (1) year to end a civil partnership ‘legally’.

As a rule, a civil partnership dissolution can take up to six (6) months to complete (providing there are no serious complications).

But, you have other options if you prefer not to end the civil partnership. You can get a judicial separation instead, which would mean you can live apart.

Permission to End a Civil Partnership

One of the key steps of ending a civil partnership UK is sending the correct paperwork to a court. You would need to ask for permission from a court to terminate your civil partnership.

Besides sending in the paperwork, there may be other issues for you and your ex-partner to work out. They may include circumstances that are part of a relationship, such as:

In most cases, you will need to work out splitting up the money, property, and possessions when dissolving a civil partnership. You must complete this part before the deadline if you want to make the division ‘legally’ binding.

There are ways to avoid having to go to court hearings. But, this only works when both ex-partners agree about children, money, and property. You and your ex-partner would also need to agree on the reasons for ending a civil partnership (see below).

Note: United Kingdom rules for the dissolution of a civil partnership differ in Scotland and in Northern Ireland.

Expert Advice for Making Key Agreements

Several organisations specialise in mediation when civil partnerships end. Check to see if you can get legal aid to help pay for independent mediation services. You can also contact the Citizens Advice or ‘Sorting Out Separation‘ for further help for separated families.


Grounds for Ending a Civil Partnership

You must be able to show the civil partnership has broken down ‘irretrievably’ to end it. Beyond that, you would need to use one of the four valid grounds for ending a civil partnership.

Filing a Dissolution Application

You would need to ask the court for a dissolution order (form D8) to end your civil partnership. Check out how to file an application, pay the court fee, and where to send the application form.

Applying for a Conditional Order

You must get a certificate from the courts stating that they see no reason why you cannot get the legal separation. Find out how to apply for a conditional order and complete the application form.

Applying for a Final Order

There would be a brief ‘cooling off’ period before you can apply for a final order to make the dissolution ‘absolute’. Check which forms you need to use and what happens after getting the final order.

If a Partner Lacks Mental Capacity

The process becomes a little more complex if an ex-partner lacks mental capacity. Find out how to apply if your partner is not using a litigation friend and how to contact the Official Solicitor.

How to Legally End a Civil Partnership in United Kingdom