Civil Partnership Dissolution
To understand your options we offer a FREE initial 30 minute no-obligation appointment, so you can discuss your situation and concerns with one of our Family Solicitors at either of our offices in Broadstone, Christchurch, Verwood or Wimborne. They will provide you with an overview of the process and answer any questions or worries you may have. It will be very helpful if you could bring:
- Identity documents: passport/driving licence and utility bill stating name and address
- Information about your finances – joint and individual
- Pen and paper to write down notes from the meeting
- List of specific concerns that you have
For further information please contact a member of our Family team.
It is important to consider the possibility of reconciliation. We can discuss this with you and put you in touch with recommended specialists and counsellors, who can provide counselling both for individuals and couples.
This is where you come to an agreement yourselves by talking to each other directly. Even when you are both happy with the outcome, it is vital that you instruct a solicitor to explain the agreement once agreed. The solicitor can take steps to make the agreement legally binding for you.
You can seek the assistance of a third person to help you communicate and reach an agreement. The mediator is unable to give legal advice, but can help you communicate and reach a fair settlement. Again, once an agreement is reached, a Solicitor must be instructed to take steps to make the agreement legally binding for you.
Dealing with matters collaboratively, with solicitors trained in collaborative law. This involves a series of open discussions with everyone present and a commitment not to use the Court process.
Out of Court Agreement
Instructing a solicitor to pursue an out-of-court agreement with the backing of Court proceedings where necessary.
Going to Court
Instructing a solicitor to deal with proceedings at Court, where a Judge will make the final decision.
Each of the options is right for different circumstances – at Harold G Walker we can explain the different approaches in detail for you and apply it to your own personal circumstances. You will then be in a position to make a well-informed decision as to the way forward.
The Dissolution Process
Appoint a solicitor to represent you. Discuss the grounds for dissolution with your solicitor and desired arrangements for any children. Your solicitor will then send the Dissolution Petition to Court with a Statement of Arrangements form if children are involved, together with the Civil Partnership Certificate and Court fee. You must state on your Petition that the civil partnership has irretrievably broken down due to one of four grounds:
- Unreasonable behaviour by the other party
- Two years’ separation with the consent of the other party
- Five years’ separation (no requirement for the consent of the other party)
- Desertion by the other party
The Court will register the case and post the papers to your partner or their solicitors with an Acknowledgement of Service form.
Your partner or their solicitors will complete the Acknowledgement of Service form, stating that the Dissolution Petition will not be defended and send it back to the Court.
The Court sends the Acknowledgement of Service form to your solicitors.
Your solicitor drafts a statement in support of the application for the conditional order which you sign. This is then sent to the Court.
The District Judge looks at the papers and decides whether to grant the conditional order and if there are any children involved, whether to issue a statement declaring the Judge is happy with the proposed arrangements for their care.
If the Judge decides to grant the conditional order, both parties are informed that it will be read out in Court on a certain date and time (parties do not need to attend).
A copy of the conditional order is sent to both parties.
Six weeks and one day later, you can apply (with a fee) for the Final Dissolution order.
The Final Dissolution Order is sent to both you and the other party.
Dissolution & Children
However, should the parents not agree on these arrangements, or should the Court have concerns about the children’s welfare, then the Court will need to become involved. This may involve one or both parents applying for the children to live with them (Residence) or have contact with them.
Dissolution & Finances
Both you and your partner must disclose your income and assets to each other. This ensures that everything is taken into account and nothing is concealed. Once agreement is reached regarding the financial division and any future arrangements, the solicitors draft a Consent Order which is signed by both you and your partner and sent to the Court for the District Judge to approve.
If a figure for child maintenance cannot be agreed, then it will be necessary to apply to the Child Support Agency (CSA) for an assessment.