Local members of the family justice body Resolution have welcomed new research which shows most people back a change in the law to give cohabiting people more rights. Currently, cohabiting couples have few or no rights in the event of a relationship breakdown meaning that unlike married couples there is no mechanism for splitting assets.
The Civil Partnership Act 2004 gives same-sex couples who have entered a Civil Partnership the same rights and responsibilities as married couples during their relationship and upon subsequent separation. The Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Death (Registration Etc.) Act 2019, also allows heterosexuals couples to enter a Civil Partnership.
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If the relationship of civil partners comes to an end, the couple needs to dissolve their civil partnership by issuing a Petition for Dissolution and seeking a Decree of Dissolution.
The civil partnership needs to have lasted for a year before either can apply for dissolution. The dissolution is based on the “irretrievable breakdown” of the civil partnership and proven on either
- the unreasonable behaviour of one of the civil partners;
- two years separation with consent;
- five years separation.
Following the breakdown of the civil partnership, the parties’ financial assets will need to be divided. We are able to advise you of the process and assist you to reach an agreement.
If an agreement is reached a Consent Order can be drafted. If you are unable to reach an agreement we can assist in commencing financial proceedings to enable the Court to make decisions as to how the assets and liabilities should be divided.
If financial matters are not resolved upon dissolution, the financial claims between the partners will remain open until they are dismissed, meaning that either partner runs the risk of a potential claim from the other even if many years after the dissolution of their civil partnership.
The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 came into force in 2014 and allows same-sex marriage. If you are in a same-sex marriage please see our Divorce section.