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What If Your 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.

You can still apply to dissolve your civil partnership even if your partner ‘lacks mental capacity’.

In this case, they would not be able to participate in the process or agree to end the bond.

Even so, the process can move forward when the ex-partner has someone to make decisions on their behalf.

The United Kingdom legal system recognises the people who act for others as a ‘litigation friend’.

As a rule, litigation friends are family members or close friends. But, they can also be other trusted persons who represent people who are unable to make their own decisions.

Appointing a Litigation Friend

So, what would happen if no one suitable or willing wants to be a litigation friend? In cases such as this, you can apply to the court for them to appoint a litigation friend instead.

As a rule, the Official Solicitor will agree to act as litigation friend for your ex-partner. They often accept the role of ‘litigation friend of last resort’ when no one else is available to do it.

Applying to the Court

  1. You need to check whether anybody else is suitable or willing to act as a litigation friend on behalf of your civil partner.
  2. Make sure there are funds available to cover any costs that the Official Solicitor needs to pay. In some cases, your civil partner may qualify to get legal aid.
  3. The court will need the details of your ex-partner’s doctor or other medical professional. The court uses the information to ask for a certificate of capacity.

Note: You must wait to see if the Official Solicitor will agree to act as a litigation friend for your civil partner. If they accept, you will then be able to file an application to end the civil partnership.


How to Apply for a Final Order | Check which forms you need and how getting the order affects a Will.

Make Decisions on Behalf of Someone | Making future decisions (e.g. if they lose mental capacity).

Contacting the Official Solicitor

The private family law team can provide further information if you have an enquiry. You can either send them an email or give them a call.

Official Solicitor (private family law team)
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 020 3681 2754
Information on phone call charges.

If Your Partner Lacks Mental Capacity When Ending a Civil Partnership