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Guides / The Divorce Process / Can I get divorced if I’m in a civil partnership

Part 2
Can I get divorced if I’m in a civil partnership
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civil partnership dissolution

In December 2005, civil partnerships were introduced as a way to give same-sex couples legal recognition of their relationship. Civil partnerships are designed to mirror the rights and benefits that married couples experience. Interestingly, civil partnerships are a hugely popular option for same-sex couples but are also popular among hetero couples who choose not to marry.

When it comes to ending a civil partnership, the process is generally the same as ending a marriage. However, there are some small differences, for example, the ending of a civil partnership is called a civil partnership dissolution, not a divorce.

civil partnership dissolution vs divorce

Because a civil partnership was designed to essentially mirror a marriage, the legal processes that surround both starting and ending the legal bond are mostly the same. However, to end a civil partnership, you will still need to go through the full application process. Unlike a divorce, when applying for a civil partnership dissolution you will need to fill in a “dissolution application form.”

The most notable area of difference between a divorce and a dissolution lies in the reason for ending the relationship.

Although civil partnerships are available to both straight and gay couples, the majority of civil partners are LGBT. Because of this, if you are in a same-sex civil partnership, you cannot dissolve your partnership if there has been adultery involved, because adultery (legally) refers to male/female penetration. However, adultery is grounds for a civil partnership dissolution between opposite-sex partners, or if the same-sex partner has had an affair with a straight person. 

The application process generally follows 5 steps, which include filing a petition and awaiting a response from court (see part 3 of this guide for more information on how to apply for divorce). Alternatively, you can follow the same route for legal separation if you would rather separate than dissolve your civil partnership.

will i have to go to court for my civil partnership dissolution?

Generally, you won’t need to go to court for a civil partnership dissolution. However, similarly to divorce, a civil partnership dissolution will require court intervention when you need to make arrangements for children and finances or if there is a dispute between partners.

LGBT Lawyers same-sex couple considering civil partnership dissolution
what will happen if we have children?

When it comes to same-sex divorce or a civil partnership dissolution, the child arrangement process will differ slightly. For example, many LGBT couples use non-traditional methods of conception such as surrogacy, same-sex adoption and IVF. Because of this, same-sex parents often have different parental rights and responsibilities (until legally changed) and so custody and arrangements may be complex.

same sex female couples

same sex female couples

For same-sex female couples, you can make child arrangements between yourselves or through a family court if both female parents are registered on the child’s birth certificate. However, if you are not both legal parents, child arrangements during the civil partnership dissolution process could be more complex. For example, issues could arise if the non-birth mother also doesn’t have legal parental responsibility.

same sex male couples

same sex male couples

The process is the same if both male parents have parental responsibility and are on the birth certificate. However, issues can arise if your child was born using a surrogate, a common option for same-sex male couples. Legally, the child’s birth mother has full parental responsibility. In most cases, the birth mother will share this responsibility with one of the fathers, but not necessarily both. However, this depends on who has been granted parental responsibility for the child and who is on the birth certificate.

We can help with your civil partnership dissolution.

Our friendly team are on hand to connect you with the best possible divorce lawyer for your case.

SPEAK TO OUR TEAM ON 020 3795 9020 

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