Ending a Civil Partnership

How may I end my civil partnership?

Acknowledging that your relationship has broken down can be extremely distressing, especially after you and your partner have spent so much time together. The legal side to ending a civil partnership can also appear daunting. Our expert family law team can guide you through each step of the process to achieve the best possible result for you.

The Legal Status

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 came into force on 13 March 2014 meaning that same sex couples can marry in England and Wales. The legal requirements for divorce largely mirror those for opposite sex couples but same sex couples cannot rely on the ground of adultery to petition for divorce.

For couples who entered into a civil partnership prior to 13 March 2014 they will currently still need to petition for the dissolution rather than divorce.

Grounds for Petition

There are several grounds you can rely upon to end, or dissolve, your civil partnership if you have been in the partnership for at least one year and can demonstrate to the Court that the relationship has broken down irretrievably.

The available grounds are:

  • Unreasonable behaviour. To establish this ground you will need to demonstrate to the Court that your partner has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with them. This can include verbal or mental cruelty, domestic violence, being irresponsible with money or being sexually unfaithful.
  • Desertion. If your partner has left you without your agreement for a continuous period of two years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition.
  • Two years separation with consent. If you have lived apart for more than two years by mutual agreement immediately preceding the presentation of the petition then you can use this as a ground for dissolving the civil partnership. If he or she does not, you may have to wait until you have lived apart for five years before you may end the civil partnership.
  • Five years separation. If you have lived apart for a continuous period of five years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition then you can rely upon this ground without requiring your partners consent.

If you are unsure which ground might applies to your circumstances please do contact a member of our family team to discuss your options further. 

You will also need to consider how you and your partner will divide assets, savings, property, your possessions and how best to care for any children. Our expert team of family lawyers have a wealth of experience in helping same sex couples through this difficult time and provide you with practical advice and guidance at each step of the process.


How we can assist you

Dissolving a civil partnership can be complex and distressing, particularly if communication has broken down with your civil partner. The process of dissolution can take several months to resolve if matters are contested. Our team understand and are trained to recognise the challenges couples face when separating and can help guide you through the process with clear practical advice and support.