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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 reasons for ending a civil partnership.

The first step is being able to demonstrate that the relationship suffered an irretrievable break down.

In simple terms, this means you and your ex-partner find it impossible to get on with each other any longer.

In fact, there is only one legal ground for getting divorced. But, you can use any of the five reasons for filing a divorce.

But, under the law you cannot use adultery as a reason for the dissolution of a civil partnership. This is because UK law recognises the act of adultery as sexual intercourse taking place between a man and a woman.

So, what are justifiable reasons for ending a civil partnership in the United Kingdom? In fact, you can use any of these four reasons as a basis for the failure for your relationship.

Unreasonable Behaviour

There are several situations why you might use unreasonable behaviour as a reason to end the bond. As a rule, your partner’s conduct would need to be the overriding factor.

It would be valid if their behaviour is so bad or abusive that it leaves you feeling that you can live with them no longer. Typical examples of a civil partner behaving unreasonably include:

  • Drunkenness
  • Financial irresponsibility (being irresponsible with money)
  • Physical abuse (or verbal abuse)
  • Physical cruelty (or mental cruelty)
  • Sexual infidelity (being sexually unfaithful)

Desertion (abandonment)

Despite being a little less common, you can use desertion as a valid reason to end the partnership. As a rule, you can use it as grounds if your partner has abandoned you:

  • Without your agreement and without a rational reason.
  • With the intention of ending your relationship.
  • For a period more than two (2) years during the past two and a half years.

Note: You can still make a claim for desertion if you lived together for up to a total of six (6) months within this 2.5 year period.

More than 2 Years of Separation

You can start the dissolution of a civil partnership if you separated and lived apart for more than two (2) years. Both partners must agree to end the civil partnership if you use this reason.

Note: You will need your civil partner’s consent in writing if using this as grounds for dissolving the association.


End a Civil Partnership | Legal methods of dissolving the bond when a civil partnership breaks down.

Filing a Dissolution Application | What information you need to file an application and the court fees.

More than 5 Years of Separation

As a rule, you can file an application if you have lived apart for more than five (5) years. In this case, you would be able to end the civil partnership even without the consent of your civil partner.

Conditions and Valid Grounds for Ending a Civil Partnership