Civil Partnerships

An irretrievable breakdown of a civil partnership can arise from four facts which must be relied upon if you wish to dissolve a civil partnership. These are:

  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Desertion
  • 2 years separation by consent
  • 5 years separation

The process is relatively straightforward and, if the paperwork is in order, the judge will set a date for a provisional order. Six weeks and a day after the provisional order, the dissolution can be granted. 

Property issues and issues with children may also arise, and separate considerations will apply to the resolution of these legal issues. 

In March 2014, the first same-sex marriages were celebrated in England and Wales and those from overseas were recognised also.

From 10th December 2014 it has been possible to convert civil partnerships to marriage.

What is the difference between civil partnership and same-sex marriage?

In the debate leading up to enactment of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, the government produced a table giving a comparison of same-sex marriage and civil partnership.

Cohabitation advice and separation agreements

So-called “common law marriage” is a myth. If you have lived together as husband and wife, but are unmarried, the legal situation is not at all straightforward. Your legal relationships with each other are governed by the laws of property and those relating to children. Unmarried couples are generally treated in law as unrelated individuals. Unless jointly owned, there are no rights to each other’s assets except in limited circumstances. 

We can assist at the outset of a cohabitation by setting out, in a clear agreement, the expectations of each party, and set your relationship off on a clear footing. Equally, when things go wrong, we can help smooth the process of unpicking the threads with a separation agreement. We can advise either party as to whether there are exceptions to the rule in the specific circumstances of a case.