To formalise a separation the process is similar to divorce proceedings. Either party can start the dissolution.
The only grounds for dissolution is that the civil partnership has broken down irretrievably and the only way to show the civil partnership has broken down is to prove one of the following four facts:
If you do not wish to wait for two years, then the only way the civil partnership can be dissolved is on unreasonable behaviour. This behaviour does not need to involve violence or other extreme behaviour. A combination of other behaviour can be sufficient. There is no corresponding fact to adultery and divorce. A relationship or sex with another person can form the basis of an application based on behaviour. Any behaviour you want to rely on has to have happened within the 6 months before you separated or since you separated.
The Court process starts when the Court receives a dissolution petition, the civil partnership certificate and the fee of £410. It will then allocate a number to the case, open a file and send the papers to your civil partner.
When your civil partner receives the dissolution papers they have to fill in a form confirming they have received the papers and whether or not they agree to the dissolution. They then have to return that form to the Court. The Court will send a copy of that form to you. If your civil partner does not return the form it may eventually be necessary to serve them personally. Again, we will go through this with you in more detail if this matter arises.
If your civil partner agrees to the dissolution going ahead you can then file a statement confirming that everything in the dissolution petition is true and whether anything in the meantime has changed. With that statement you can apply for a condition order. There is no fee at that stage. The District Judge will then look at your dissolution papers and if the Judge agrees that you are entitled to a dissolution, the Court will set a date for formal pronouncement of the conditional order, which may be a week to a month after the District Judge has approved your dissolution. This is only the first dissolution order and you remain civil partners until the final order.
You can apply for the final order 6 weeks after the date of pronouncement of the conditional order. There is no further fee for that application. The Court should process the application within a week or so.
In all, the dissolution proceedings can take as little as 4 to 6 months from start to finish. However, it can take a lot longer if either or both of you delay in taking particular steps during the proceedings.
Our specialist Family Law solicitors will deal with you with compassion and sensitivity and will guide you through this complicated and stressful process. We have many years of experience and we will try and minimise conflict where possible.
Douglas Clift & Co Solicitors will provide a free 30 minute initial consultation to assess your circumstances. We will then explain the costs involved and give you information about the funding options available to you. Contact us now on 01524 32437 or alternatively use our contact form to discuss this further.