A civil partnership is an alternative to marriage that is available to both opposite and same-sex couples. It offers the same rights as marriage and can be ended by obtaining a dissolution following the same process as that used for divorce.
If you are considering entering into a civil partnership and you would like to protect your rights and interests or if you are dealing with the breakdown of a relationship, our expert civil partnership solicitors in Farnham can provide help and advice.
Our Family Law team have wide experience in dealing with all aspects of civil partnership and related issues such as financial agreements and arrangements for children. Our civil partnership dissolution solicitors will take the time to understand your situation and take steps to ensure the best outcome for you and your family.
Our civil partnership lawyers can advise on the following:
- Pre-partnership agreements
- Civil partnership dissolution
- Financial settlements
- Arrangements for children
We understand that dealing with the breakdown of a relationship is difficult and you will find our civil partnership solicitors both sensitive and approachable.
For all types of civil partnership legal advice, please feel free to get in touch.
You can contact your local BakerLaw office or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our expertise with civil partnerships
A pre-partnership agreement or pre-civil partnership agreement is similar to a pre-nuptial agreement. It is a written contract entered into by a couple before their civil partnership ceremony.
It can include the details you and your partner have agreed upon in respect of a range of issues and will be unique to your situation. Common points that are often addressed in a pre-partnership agreement include:
- Details of each of your assets
- How assets will be dealt with in the event that you separate
- Who will pay the mortgage and other bills
- How debt will be dealt with upon separation
- How inheritances will be dealt with
- How much maintenance will be paid for children if you separate
Putting a pre-partnership agreement in place can help you both be open with each other about financial matters from the start. It can also protect your interests, particularly if one of you has a higher value of assets or is likely to inherit money.
While the courts are not bound to follow the terms of a pre-partnership agreement in the event that you dissolve your partnership, provided certain criteria are met they are more likely to do so. These criteria include:
- You both made full financial disclosure to each other before signing.
- You both obtained independent legal advice and understand the implications of the agreement.
- The agreement is fair.
- It was entered into freely.
- It was entered into at least 28 days before the date of the civil partnership ceremony.
- Both of your needs are met.
- It does not prejudice the interests of any children.
Our Family Law Team can draft a pre-partnership agreement for you, and we can also advise you on the terms of an agreement prepared by another solicitor.
Civil partnership dissolution
A civil partnership can be ended by dissolution in the same way that a marriage can be ended by divorce.
Once you have been in the partnership for a year or more, you are entitled to ask the court to dissolve it. Before you start the process, it is recommended that you take legal advice as it may be in your best interests to deal with issues such finances and arrangements for children before finalising a dissolution.
Once you are ready to go ahead, you will need to send an application to the court and confirm that your relationship has irretrievably broken down. Your application should be accompanied by the court fee of £593.
There is no longer any need to make any other allegations, such as unreasonable behaviour, and it is not generally possible to oppose a dissolution.
You can apply to the court yourself or you and your partner can make a joint application. There is a 20-week cooling-off period after the application is made. Following this, you can make a statement to the court confirming the application and the court will make a conditional order.
There is a further wait of six weeks, after which you can ask the court to make a final order. Once the final order of dissolution is made, your civil partnership will be officially ended.
A civil partnership is a financial obligation for life and this obligation is not ended by a dissolution. For this reason, it is important to put a financial order in place when you separate otherwise you could receive a financial claim from your former partner at some point in the future.
A financial settlement can often be dealt with by way of negotiation and agreement avoiding the need for a court hearing. Our civil partnership solicitors are experts at representing individuals in financial negotiations and we can work on your behalf to reach the best possible agreement.
If necessary, we can also refer you to mediation if you are not able to agree on a settlement by way of negotiation. Once an agreement has been reached, we will put this into a draft order and ask the court to approve and seal it, making it legally binding.
Arrangements for children
If you and your partner have children, you may also need to put formal arrangements in place for them. This could include:
- Which parent they will live with
- How much time they will spend with their other parent and when this will be
- How much maintenance will be paid
- How your child will stay in touch with each of you when you are not together
If you are able to reach an agreement, this can be put into a consent order for approval by the courts. If you are having trouble agreeing on terms, the next step is generally to consider mediation.
You and your partner will meet with a mediator who will be able to try and help you work together to find a solution.
We can represent you in negotiations over arrangements for your children and where necessary refer you to mediation. If it is necessary to go to court, we will prepare a strong case and ensure that you are thoroughly prepared.
Civil partnership explained
Is civil partnership the same as marriage?
One of the benefits of civil partnership is that it attracts the same rights as marriage. The initial service tends to be different, with marriages often taking place at a religious venue. Otherwise, both options are fundamentally the same.
The process for ending each is the same, although with the different terminology of divorce and dissolution.
Civil partners have the same rights as a married person in respect of division of property and money, with the court’s starting point for this being a 50:50 split of all assets, although this will be adjusted as is deemed fair.
Rights to a deceased partner’s estates are the same and the potential to claim maintenance is the same.
Where children are involved, both parents have parental responsibility if they were married or in a civil partnership with each other at the time of the child’s birth to one of them.
Can a civil partnership be dissolved?
A civil partnership can be dissolved at the request of either party after one year or more.
How much does it cost to dissolve a civil partnership?
The court fee for dissolving a civil partnership is £593. You are also advised to speak to a solicitor to ensure that finances and agreements for children are dealt with at the same time. If you would like us to represent you, we can advise you of the likely costs involved.
How do you dissolve a civil partnership when one partner doesn’t want to?
If your partner does not want to dissolve your civil partnership, you can simply make the application yourself. There is not generally any scope to oppose a dissolution.
How long does it take to end a civil partnership?
The court process for dissolving a civil partnership takes a minimum of 26 weeks. If you are also dealing with financial matters and arrangements for children, the process is likely to take longer, depending on how quickly you are able to reach an agreement and whether it is necessary to hold court hearings.
Will civil partnership affect my state pension?
Civil partners are dealt with in the same way as married individuals in respect of pension rights and provisions.
If you entered into a civil partnership before 6 April 2016, you may be entitled to up to half of your partner’s additional state pension on their death if they reached the state retirement age before 6 April 2016 or they died before 6 April 2016 but would have reached the state retirement age on or after that date.
Contact our civil partnership solicitors in Farnham
If you are considering bringing your civil partnership to an end, our solicitors for civil partnership dissolution in Farnham will be able to advise you of the best course of action and represent you in securing the best possible outcome.
You can contact your local BakerLaw office or email us at email@example.com.