How to End a Civil Partnership

If you are thinking about ending (or “dissolving”) your civil partnership, read this quick guide by our experienced family law solicitors for all you need to know about starting the process.

Are you eligible for dissolution of a civil partnership?

You must have been in a civil partnership for at least one year before you are eligible to make an application for dissolution. If you both agree to a dissolution and the reasons why, the process will usually take at least 4-6 months. This may be longer, however, if you have issues such as children, money, and property to sort out.

Before you apply for a dissolution, you will need to show that your civil partnership has broken down irretrievably by choosing the grounds for dissolution.

Grounds for dissolution

  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Desertion – Your partner has left you and you have lived apart for two years
  • You and your partner have been separated and have lived apart for two years (it is sometimes possible to argue that a couple have lived separately under one roof)
  • You and your partner have lived apart for five years (unlike with two years’ separation, your partner will not have to consent to the dissolution proceeding on this basis)

The dissolution application

First, you will need to complete a petition outlining the reasons you feel that your civil partnership has irretrievably broken down. Before this is sent to the court, you may wish to send a draft copy to your ex-partner.  

For your application, you will need your civil partnership certificate and your partner’s full name and address. If you changed your name after entering into your civil partnership, you will need proof by way of deed poll.  

You will need to pay a £550 fee when submitting your dissolution application. If your application is filled in incorrectly, you could incur additional costs. Using a solicitor will ensure your paperwork is filled in correctly.


If you are unable to agree on issues such as ownership of the family home, children, or money, a mediator can help you sort through your issues outside of court. A mediator is an independent third party who will help direct discussions between you and your partner.  

The aim is to find suitable solutions in a calm and reasonable manner, without needing to go to court. While a mediator cannot offer legal advice, they will usually be a qualified solicitor and therefore familiar with the current law.

Getting started

Anderson Rowntree is one of West Sussex’s leading family law firms. Our experienced solicitors are here to help you at every stage of ending your civil partnership, from submitting the application and sorting through any issues, to representing you in court if necessary. To speak to one of our solicitors about your situation, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.