How to dissolve a civil partnership

How to dissolve a civil partnership in England and Wales

Originally published on 28th October 2021 at 3:33 PM

Reading time: 2 mins

What is a civil partnership?

A civil partnership is a legal relationship that can be registered between two people of either the opposite sex or the same sex. Traditionally, only members of the same sex were able to enter into a civil partnership, until a change in the law in 2019. Conversely, same-sex couples weren’t able to marry until 2013. Civil partnerships can be converted into marriages in England and Wales.

As with marriage, a person can enter into a civil partnership if they are over 16 (with parental consent if they are under 18), aren’t already in a civil partnership and aren’t closely related.

Whereas marriage ceremonies are centred around the marriage vows - no words need to be spoken in a civil partnership event (or ceremony depending on the discretion of the couple), with only the civil partnership schedule needing to be signed by both people. Whilst a religious organisation may host the civil partnership ceremony, the event itself must be secular (non-religious).

Step-by-step guide on how to dissolve your civil partnership:

Note: No-fault divorce will be implemented in April 2022, and the below information will be subject to revision.

Step 1: Submit the dissolution application (Form D8):

If you’ve decided to end your civil partnership, you may be confused as to where to start the process. Firstly, you will need to ‘submit’ your dissolution application. You can either apply online or by post. As of September 2021, all new applications must go to the Family Court at Bury St. Edmunds.

You will also need to decide whether you would like to submit a joint application or a sole application.

Not sure whether you should tick the financial box?

Step 2: Your ex responds (for sole applications):

Once the court has processed your dissolution application, they issue a sealed copy to your ex, along with the ‘acknowledgement of service’ form, which they will then need to complete.

If you have made a joint application then your ex does not need to complete this step as long as you both apply for the Conditional Order.

Step 3: Submit the Conditional Order:

You must wait for the 20-week 'reflection' period to elapse before you can progress to the next stage of the process. This is a safeguard built into the system to enable people to adjust to the news and to make arrangements for any children and finances.

After this 'cooling-off' period, and for sole applications, once the court has registered your ex’s response. You can apply for the Conditional Order. This is were a Judge confirms whether or not your entitled to a dissolution of your civil partnership.

Step 4: Sort out the finances: (optional but advised)

Once you receive your Conditional Order pronouncement date and the subsequent certificate, you will be able to formalise any financial arrangements you have reached through applying for a consent order (or financial order).

Tip: Read our top tips for negotiating a fair financial settlement in our guide here.

What is a clean-break clause?

A clean-break clause is found within a financial order and ends all future claims. This is important to protect both your and your ex’s future assets once your civil partnership has been dissolved. Without this, you may both be able to claim from each other in the future. If you don’t have any assets now, but want to protect yourself from this in the future, you may wish to consider a no-asset clean-break consent order.

Step 5: Submit the Final Order:

Six weeks and one day after the Conditional Order pronouncement date, or after your consent order (if you have one) has been sealed, applicant one can apply for the Final Order which is the last part dissolving your civil partnership process.

Once you receive your Final Order certificate – your civil partnership is officially dissolved.

Tip: Keep the dissolution paperwork safe in case you should ever need to rely upon it and start your new chapter.

If your dissolution petition was issued before the 6th of April 2022:

'No-fault' was introduced on the 6th of April 2022, if your dissolution petition was issued by the court before this date then the steps below outline the previous system for divorce under the old law.

Step 1: Submit the dissolution petition (Form D8):

You would have had to select one of the five 'facts' to support the irretrievable breakdown of your civil partnership:

Grounds for dissolution:

Unlike divorce, you wouldn't have been able to use ‘adultery’ as the reason for the breakdown of the civil partnership.

Step 2: Your ex responds (the respondent):

Once the court has processed your dissolution petition, they issue a sealed copy to your ex, along with the ‘acknowledgement of service’ form, which they will then need to complete. You will also receive a copy of the sealed petition to keep for your records.

Step 3: Submit the conditional order:

Once the court has registered your ex’s response, a copy will be posted to you, and you will then need to complete the D84 and D80 forms and attach a copy of your ex’s response to it. This is called the conditional order application. In divorce, this is called the decree nisi application. You can read about both here.

Step 4: Sort out the finances: (optional but advised)

Once you receive your conditional order pronouncement date and the subsequent certificate, you will be able to formalise any financial arrangements you have reached through applying for a consent order (or financial order).

Tip: Read our top tips for negotiating a fair financial settlement in our guide here.

What is a clean-break clause?

A clean-break clause is found within a financial order and ends all future claims. This is important to protect both your and your ex’s future assets once your civil partnership has been dissolved. Without this, you may both be able to claim from each other in the future. If you don’t have any assets now, but want to protect yourself from this in the future, you may wish to consider a no-asset clean-break consent order.

Step 5: Submit the final order:

Six weeks and one day after the conditional order pronouncement date, or after your consent order (if you have one) has been sealed, the petitioner (the person that submitted the first petition) can apply for the final order which is the last part dissolving your civil partnership process.

Once you receive your final order certificate – your civil partnership is officially dissolved.

Tip: Keep the dissolution paperwork safe in case you should ever need to rely upon it and start your new chapter.

Resources:

Start your amicable divorce journey

Start your amicable divorce journey

Speak to an amicable Divorce Coach to understand your options and next steps for untying the knot, amicably.

Book a free 15-minute consultation

Sign up to amicable’s newsletter

Receive advice, tools and tips into your inbox every month.

Loading...

Holly Cooper
Holly Cooper
Holly is part of the marketing team at amicable. Her experience of working in marketing and brand centric roles and has been grounded in her passion for growing companies and causes that serve a social purpose and improve the lives of others.

Related content

amicable's guide to consent orders

amicable's guide to consent orders

What is a consent order and do you need one? Read our legal jargon-free guide here.

Find out how long your separation will take

Find out how long your separation will take

Answer three simple questions and receive a personalised timeline.

The amicable guide to No-Fault Divorce

The amicable guide to No-Fault Divorce

No-fault divorce is coming in April 2022. Here's everything you need to know.

Comments (0)

By clicking send you accepting our privacy policy.