J R JONES SOLICITORS
0121 777 7864
JR Jones Solicitors Birmingham
solicitors Birmingham

Civil Partnerships & Same Sex Couples

We can assist you with all aspects of Civil Partnerships, from pre-partnership agreements to dissolution. Please contact us for more information.

What is a Civil Partnership?

Civil Partnerships were introduced in 2005. A Civil Partnership is a legally registered relationship that gives same sex couples legal rights contact ussimilar to married couples of the opposite sex. These rights relate to areas such the right to apply for parental responsibility for a partner’s child, as well as financial rights in relation to pensions, Wills and tax.

Pre-Partnership Agreements

A pre-partnership agreement is similar to a pre-nuptial agreement for marrying couples. Before entering into a civil partnership a pre-partnership agreement enables you and your partner to set out what should happen if the relationship should break down. It can include things such as how jointly owned property, possessions and other assets will be divided if the partnership ends.

Although pre-partnership agreements are not currently legally binding in England (similar to pre-nuptial agreements), they are very likely to be taken into account by the Courts if they have been prepared in the proper manner and within the appropriate safeguards. The safeguards are laid out on our page on pre-nuptial agreements.

Dissolution of a Civil Partnership

If a Civil Partnership breaks down irretrievably you must get permission from the Court to legally dissolve the partnership. The Court can grant you either a Separation Order or a Dissolution Order.

What is a Dissolution order?

Dissolution of a civil partnership is very similar to a divorce for a married couple. Similar to a divorce, dissolution cannot be made within the first 12 months of the legal partnership.

To apply for dissolution it has to be proven that the relationship has broken down irretrievably. This must be shown using one of the following legal grounds which are similar to the Grounds for Divorce:

  • Your civil partner has behaved unreasonably
  • One partner has deserted the other for at least two years
  • You have been separated for two years and both agree to the dissolution
  • You have been separated for at least five years (consent is not required)

The major difference between the grounds for dissolution of a Civil Partnership and the grounds for divorce is that adultery cannot be stated as the basis for dissolution of a Civil Partnership, whereas it can be for a marriage. This is because the term ‘adultery’ has a specific legal meaning relating only to heterosexual sex. However, ‘infidelity’ can still be stated as a reason for dissolution of a civil partnership under the heading of ‘unreasonable behaviour’.

Part of the process of ending a civil partnership will involve making arrangements with regard to finances and children. Finances and property settlements can be negotiated in much the same way as with a divorce, which could include property transfers, lump sum payments or ongoing maintenance.

Similarly, arrangements for residence of children and contact with the non-resident partner can be dealt with at the same time. We can advise you on all of these aspects.

What is a Separation Order?

A Separation Orders is generally used where the partnership has not yet lasted for 12 months, so a Dissolution Order is not yet legally available to the couple. The granting of a Separation Order means that you are unable to enter into another civil partnership until you obtain a Dissolution Order.

Contact us for more information about Civil Partnerships.