Civil Partnership Dissolution

If you need reliable advice about civil partnership dissolution, our specialist Family Law solicitors are here to help.

We know that ending a civil partnership is an emotional and difficult time, but at Nash & Co Solicitors, we’re here to support you. We’ll listen to your concerns and needs, whilst guiding you through the process every step of the way. Our aim is to achieve the best outcome we can for you, no matter how challenging and complicated your situation may be.

Civil Partnership Dissolution - Lawyer Meeting - Nash & Co Solicitors

“Civil partnerships are legally recognised relationships between two people of the same sex. It confers the same rights and responsibilities as marriage. And the legal ending of a civil partnership, called a dissolution, is legally, and emotionally, almost identical to divorce for married couples”.
Eleanor Barber, Partner

Ending a civil partnership – what you need to know

The contracts of civil partnership and marriage are similar in many respects, though there are some important differences between the two.

Generally speaking, the law regards a civil partnership in much the same way as a marriage. This means that if you want to pursue a civil partnership dissolution, the process will involve similar formalities to that of a divorce.

There are a set of eligibility criteria for civil partnership dissolution that you need to meet in order to formally end your relationship. You must:

  • Have been in a civil partnership for at least one year
  • Be able to prove that your civil partnership has irreparably broken down (i.e. unreasonable behaviour, desertion, you’ve lived apart for two years and the partner consents to end your partnership or you’ve lived apart for more than five years – no consent is needed here)

If your situation meets these criteria, you can proceed with ending a civil partnership.

How Nash & Co Solicitors can help you

Ending a civil partnership is undoubtedly a pretty stressful and upsetting time. Regardless of your questions or circumstances, the best course of action right now is to call and speak to us. Our team of solicitors can then provide you with the answers and the help that you need.

It’s worth mentioning up front that couples living together as ‘cohabitees’ have very few legal rights. This particularly applies to inheritance, property and parental responsibility. To ensure the best outcome for all involve, it’s crucial that things are done amicably and with minimal confrontation. All of our lawyers are members of Resolution – an organisation committed to ‘constructive resolution’ of family disputes.

As with all family affairs, our Family Law team at Nash & Co Solicitors take the same view and approach; we care, we listen and we will work with you to achieve the best outcome for you. This includes all areas of finance and the distribution of assets, including your home and other property. If you have children, either naturally or adopted, then we can also help you to understand the choices available and plan the best course of action.

It doesn’t matter what stage you’re at in your relationship or whatever questions you have. We have a highly experienced and specialised team in place with broad experience and specific knowledge of civil partnership dissolution.

Find out more

If you need advice on ending a civil partnership, please get in touch with our Family Law solicitors. With plenty of expertise in divorce, separation and civil partnership dissolution, our solicitors are here to help you during this difficult time. You can reach Eleanor Barber and her team by phone on 01752 827030 or by email at [email protected]

Alternatively, you can request a call back from any of our solicitors in Plymouth by submitting a request through our contact form.

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Frequently Asked Questions
Do you offer a free half hour initial appointment?

No, we do not offer a free half hour initial appointment as we have found that this type of appointment rarely gives clients real help or assistance. In half an hour, we would only be able to take from you the bare outline details and there would be no time to give you anything but the most basic advice, which would not cover the specific details of your case. We believe that to be able to take your information fully and to be able to give you advice that will actually help you, we need a lot longer than half an hour! Firms that offer a free half hour appointment are using it to ‘hook’ new clients and a second appointment, at full price, will almost certainly have to be booked before you can give full information and receive any sort of detailed advice.  We understand that you do not want to be limited to half an hour when seeking expert legal advice and therefore we offer a reduced price initial appointment for £150 plus VAT.  This appointment will take around an hour or so and after the meeting, we will send you a detailed attendance note, confirming the information provided by you and our advice, setting out your options, the necessary steps and cost estimates.  We want to offer the very best service to all our clients, and we strongly believe that a free half hour appointment does not allow us to do that. We want you to leave your initial meeting feeling that you have been able to fully explain the issues and having received clear and detailed advice about your legal situation and the options available to you.

Do you offer fixed fees?

We understand that knowing what your costs are going to be is very important.  We offer fixed fees for divorce / civil partnership dissolution. We can also agree a fixed fee for the preparation of a Separation Agreement, Financial Consent Order or Pre-Marital Agreement once we know what the issues to be covered are. With other matters, such as financial negotiations arising from relationship breakdown or disputes about children, it is not possible to agree a fixed fee, as it is rarely sufficiently clear from the outset what all the issues will be. We do however break your likely costs down into stages, telling you how much each individual stage is likely to cost before you embark on that stage if possible.  We will send you regular bills and update cost estimates where appropriate to ensure that you have the best information available to help you understand and budget for your costs.

Can I get Legal Aid?

There have been significant changes to the availability of legal aid for family matters, however it can still be available when dealing with some aspect of family law, if you can prove your status as a victim of domestic violence or if Social Services have concerns about the safety of your children.

In order to prove your eligibility, there are a number of standard letters provided by the Legal Aid Agency which can assist you. Please click the link below to see what evidence will be accepted by the Legal Aid Agency. You cannot apply for legal aid without an ‘evidence letter’ if you are seeking assistance with divorce or children matters. Should you be seeking legal aid in relation to protection from domestic violence an ‘evidence letter’ will not be necessary.

As well as the above evidence, you will need to be assessed as financially eligible for legal aid. Please use the online eligibility calculator to give you an indication as to whether you may be financially eligible. This will assist you in knowing whether legal aid may be an option.

Once you have obtained one of the standard ‘evidence letters’ from a professional, and have checked your financial eligibility, please give us a call to discuss making an appointment.

Do I have to go to Mediation?

If intending to issue an application to Court for an Order relating to children or an Order relating to matrimonial finances there is an expectation that you will have attempted mediation before your application can be issued at Court. There are limited exceptions where attendance at mediation is not necessary, however in most cases it will be necessary to attend at least a first mediation meeting, known as a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM).

How long does a divorce take?

As a rule of thumb a divorce can take between 4 and 6 months from the date that the petition is lodged with the Court but it very much depends upon the complexity of the issues and how much co-operation there is between the parties.

We do work towards bringing about a conclusion as soon as possible for our clients as we recognise that it is an incredibly difficult time for them. However, each case will turn on its individual facts and it is difficult to know how long a divorce will take before the particular circumstances of the case are known.  We recommend that anyone considering divorce makes an appointment with one of our specialist solicitors to come to the office to discuss matters where a time estimate can then be provided.

Will I have to sell my home?

It is not always the position that family home will have to be sold following separation but this will depend upon the financial circumstances of the parties.

It is very uncommon for both parties to remain living in the same property following separation and so, it would seem fairly inevitable that one of the parties will have to move from the property but this does not necessarily mean that the property will have to be sold.

In cases involving children, as long as it is financially possible, every effort is made to ensure that children do remain in their home to provide stability and security for them at what is, for the whole family, a very difficult time.

We recommend that anyone concerned about what would happen to their property following separation makes an appointment to come in and meet with one of our specialist solicitors for further detailed advice.

Do I have parental responsibility?

Parental Responsibility is all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his/her property.

Mothers automatically have parental responsibility. Fathers can obtain parental responsibility by satisfying one of the below:-

  • jointly registering the birth of the child with the mother (from 1 December 2003)
  • getting a parental responsibility agreement with the mother
  • getting a parental responsibility order from a court
  • married to the child’s mother (this does not give step-parents parental responsibility)


Will I have to go to court?

For a straight forward, undefended divorce you will not need to attend Court.

Where you cannot reach an agreement and you have to issue an application to Court, for example to resolve the concequent financial issues arising out of your divorce or in relation to a dispute regarding children, then Court attendance will be necessary.