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Civil Partnerships

Dissolutions

As of 6 April 2022, separating couples are now able to get a divorce without having to blame each other for the breakdown of their relationship. And this also applies to civil partnership dissolutions too.

This new ‘no-fault’ law encourages a more straightforward and amicable approach to separation. It promotes reconciliation and reflection, and trusts the judgment of the couple involved. It does not require a showing of wrongdoing by either party; the sole ground for dissolution is irretrievable breakdown of the relationship.

Prior to this, separating couples were required to rely on one of the ‘five facts’ to prove the reasoning for divorce and dissolution.

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 (which became law in April 2022), introduced no-fault dissolution as well as the following changes:

  • Introduced joint applications where both parties agree that the relationship has irretrievably broken down.
  • Removed the ability to contest a divorce, separation or dissolution.
  • Introduced a new minimum period of 20 weeks from the start of proceedings to when the ‘Conditional Order’ can be made.

Timeframe

The no-fault dissolution process is relatively straightforward. Proceedings can take a minimum of 26 weeks to finalise which includes the two separate minimum waiting periods: the 20-week waiting period for the Conditional Order and a further 6-week waiting period for the Final Order. In total therefore, couples will have to wait at least 6 months for their dissolution to finalise. This timeframe is intended to be a period of reflection for both parties to consider whether they really want to separate. The Final Order dissolves the civil partnership.

The Process

An application for a no-fault dissolution requires names and addresses of both parties and the original (or a certified copy) of the civil partnership certificate. If a sole application is made, the court will send a copy of the dissolution application to the other partner. They are then required to confirm receipt of the application and send an ‘acknowledgement of service’ form back to the court within 14 days. Other factors, including the division of finances and arrangements for children, add extra consideration and complexity to the process.

How we can help

No-fault dissolution affects the proceedings related to the process of legally ending the civil partnership. It does not relate to the separation of finances or arrangements for children. While the process of dissolution is now much more straightforward, it is still important to speak to an expert dissolution solicitor, who can guide you through the process.