A guide to Civil Partnership Dissolution
How can I get information or advice?
For free legal information, help and advice contact Community Legal Service Direct on 0845 345 4 345 or at www.clsdirect.org.uk You can also seek help from a Citizens Advice Bureau or Consumer Advice Centre.
How do I get a dissolution?
By filling in a form called a “petition” (D508) and taking it to any civil partnership proceedings county court or to the Principal Registry in London.
This leaflet gives you a list of all the civil partnership proceedings county courts.
The addresses and telephone numbers of all the civil partnership proceedings county courts are listed in the telephone directory under Courts.
When can I get a dissolution?
You cannot start a petition for dissolution unless you have been in a civil partnership for more than one year.
Must I explain why I want a dissolution?
Yes, you must be able to prove to the court that you have reasons (or “grounds”) for saying the civil partnership is at an end. The expression the court will use is that the civil partnership has “irretrievably broken down”.
The court will accept one or more of the following grounds as proof:
• that your civil partner’s behaviour has been so bad that you can no longer bear to live with them;
• that you and your civil partner have lived apart for at least two years and he or she agrees to a dissolution;
• that you and your civil partner have lived apart for at least five years; or
• that your civil partner deserted you at least two years ago.
Do I have to live in this country to get a dissolution here?
You or your civil partner, must both have your permanent homes (‘domicile’) in England or Wales when the petition is started; or
You and your civil partner must both be living in England or Wales when the petition is started; or
You and your civil partner must both have had your last home in England or Wales and one of you must still be living in either of these countries when the petition is started; or
Your civil partner must be living in England or Wales when the petition is started; or
You must have been living in England or Wales for at least a year on the day the petition is started; or
You must have your permanent home in England or Wales and have been living in either of these countries for at least six months on the day the petition is started.
Where none of the above apply you may still get a dissolution in England and Wales if either you or your civil partner are domiciled in England or Wales OR you and your civil partner were registered as civil partners in England or Wales and it is in the interests of justice for the court to assume jurisdiction in this case.
Will I need a solicitor?
Probably not. But you will find it useful to have some legal advice before starting your petition if:
• you do not know whether you have grounds for a dissolution;
• your civil partner is not likely to agree to a dissolution;
• you have not agreed with your civil partner who the children should live with;
• you have not agreed about any financial support for the children or yourself, or about any property.
The court will give you the forms you need and tell you what to do next. The forms are free.
If you do need help filling in the forms a Citizens Advice Bureau will help.
If you are receiving Legal Help from a solicitor under the Community Legal Service Fund, he or she will help you fill in the forms.
Remember that court staff are not legally qualified. They cannot give legal advice or answer questions like:
• Should I claim financial support?
• Do I have proper reasons for a dissolution?
• What will happen to the house I own with my civil partner?
Will I have to attend a court hearing?
If you can agree with your civil partner about financial support, property and the arrangements for any children, you may not have to attend a court hearing at all.
You may have to attend a court hearing if you ask the court to make an order for financial support or cannot agree about the arrangements for the children.
How much will the dissolution cost?
You may have to pay a fee for the following:
• to start your petition;
• the document which shows your civil partnership has been dissolved, the final order;
• any applications for financial support or about any children.
Does the fee always have to be paid?
No. Your financial situation may mean you do not have to pay a fee. The combined booklet and application form EX160A - Court Fees - do I have to pay them? provides further information on this.
Court staff can provide you with a copy of the EX160A. It is also available on-line at
www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk You will have to make a separate application for each fee that you would otherwise have to pay.
Will I need a copy of my civil partnership certificate?
Yes. You will have to give a copy to the court when you start your petition. It will be kept on the court file. The copy must not be a photocopy.
Where can I get a copy of my civil partnership certificate if I do not have one?
If you entered into a civil partnership in England or Wales, you can get a copy from:
• the office of the Registrar of Births, Deaths
and Marriages for the district in which you entered into your civil partnernship. You can get the address from the phone book. You will have to pay a fee, and they will tell you how much it is.
• You can also get a copy from:
The Registrar General
Southport PR8 2HH
Tel: 0151 471 4200
You cannot visit that office. You can only apply by post.
You will have to pay a fee, and they will tell you how much it is. You should send a cheque or postal order for the correct amount. Cheques should be made out to “HMCS”.
You can visit the office at the:
Office for National Statistics
Family Records Centre
1 Myddleton Street
There will be a charge for your copy certificate. The office will tell you how much it is.
The office you go to will want to know:
• the date of your civil parnership;
• when and where you formed your civil partnership;
• your full name; and
• the full name of your civil partner.
List of Civil Partnership Proceedings County Courts
Newcastle upon Tyne
Principal Registry of the Family Division
If you decide to go ahead and start a petition, read leaflet D194 - I want to get a dissolution - what do I do?.
If you have children you should also read leaflet D195 - Children and dissolution.