Civil Partnership Dissolution

JMW's family law solicitors specialise in civil partnership dissolution and we will guide you through the process, ensuring you secure the best possible outcome. We understand that going through a dissolution can be a very challenging and stressful time, which is why we are here to help you navigate your way through the process and to deal with any issues that may arise.

A dissolution can be especially difficult if there are children involved and the financial implications can be considerable. It is therefore essential that you have access to high quality legal advice at an early stage.

Speak to our team today about your civil partnership dissolution or any other aspect of civil partnership law by contacting us today. Simply call us on 0800 652 5577 or complete our online enquiry form and we will call you back as soon as we can.

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Civil Partnership Dissolution Explained

In order to end a civil partnership, the applicant must satisfy the court that the relationship has irretrievably broken down. This is 'proven' with reference to one of four 'facts':

  • One partner has behaved in such a way that the other cannot reasonably be expected to live with them, known as 'unreasonable behaviour'
  • You and your partner have lived apart for more than two years, and both now agree to the dissolution
  • You and your partner have been separated for more than five years (no agreement is necessary)
  • Desertion (rarely used in practice)

A civil partnership cannot be dissolved on the basis of adultery. However, forming an intimate relationship with another person would be recognised as a form of unreasonable behaviour, allowing the dissolution to proceed if either partner has been unfaithful.

Court decisions in cases of serious misconduct

A relationship can break down for many reasons. In most cases, the court will not take into account the parties' conduct (e.g. infidelity or unreasonable behaviour) when deciding the financial settlement that should be put in place. However, find out more about how the courts deal with those rare instances of severe financial or other misconduct here.

Financial Clean Break Order

If your civil partnership has broken down, a financial clean break order is one form of financial settlement that could help. For more information about financial clean break orders, click here

Financial Consent Order

If you are dissolving a civil partnership, a financial consent order can help to set out the financial agreement reached. Find out more here.

Separation Agreements

A formal, written separation agreement is an alternative means for separating couples to agree on certain money matters if there are reasons why an immediate dissolution is either not possible or undesirable. Find out more about these types of agreements with our short guide to separation agreements here.


  1. If you are in a civil partnership, is the process the same if you want to get divorced?

    Basically, yes. There are a few differences in terminology. The proceedings are known as 'dissolution' rather than divorce proceedings. You will receive a conditional order instead of a decree nisi and a final order instead of a decree absolute. Also, it is not possible to base the dissolution upon the fact of your civil partner's adultery per se. However, if they have been unfaithful then this could be cited as an example of unreasonable behaviour.

  2. I am worried that I won't be able to see my civil partner's children after we split up. Do I have any rights?

    Anyone who has had a significant relationship with a child can potentially ask the court to make an order to help preserve that relationship after separation, provided this is in the child's best interests. In the case of a step parent, whether by marriage or civil partnership, they have the right to apply to the court for a child arrangements order, which regulates who the child lives with and who they spend time with (known formerly as a residence and contact order), in case of a dispute.

Why Choose JMW?

The family law solicitors at JMW are happy to provide initial advice and guidance on civil partnership dissolution and any related financial matters or issues relating to children that you may be concerned about.

We are approachable, pragmatic and known for providing straightforward, no-nonsense advice to give you the very best chance of securing the outcome you are after.

Talk to Us

Find out more about how we can help with any aspect of civil partnership dissolution by getting in touch today. Simply call us on 0800 652 5577 or by completing our online enquiry form, which will enable us to give you a call back at a time convenient for you. 

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