Dissolution provisions—civil partnership
Dissolution provisions—civil partnership

The following Family guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Dissolution provisions—civil partnership
  • The facts
  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Two years' separation
  • Five years' separation
  • Grave hardship
  • Desertion

When introduced by the Civil Partnership Act 2004 (CPA 2004), civil partnerships related only to two people of the same sex. However, from 2 December 2019 the Civil Partnership (Opposite-sex Couples) Regulations 2019 (CP(O-sC)R 2019) (the Regulations), SI 2019/1458 are in effect and the eligibility criteria in CPA 2004 amended to allow opposite-sex couples to register a civil partnership in England and Wales.

A civil partnership dissolution order is largely equivalent to a divorce in relation to a marriage, but with some notable differences. As with divorce, there is only one ground for a dissolution order: the irretrievable breakdown of the civil partnership evidenced by one of the four supporting facts in CPA 2004, s 44(5). Unlike the divorce provisions under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, adultery is not one of the five facts in relation to civil partnership, although such circumstances may be raised under the fact of unreasonable behaviour. Note that the Regulations did not amend the facts under CPA 2004, s 44(5) to include adultery in relation to opposite-sex couples and therefore adultery cannot be relied upon to prove the irretrievable breakdown of an opposite-sex civil partnership. This issue was discussed in the Government’s Equalities Office paper: Implementing Opposite-Sex Civil Partnership: Next Steps at [para 25].

A party to a civil partnership cannot apply for the dissolution of the civil