Dissolution of Civil Partnership
In 2005 the law changed so that same-sex couples achieved similar rights, obligations, and entitlements as to marriage by entering into a civil partnership.
The law further changed in 2014, to allow same-sex couples to marry and additional changes in December 2019 allowed heterosexual couples to enter into civil partnerships.
Those couples who have entered into a civil partnership and who now wish to end it, must take steps to dissolve their civil partnership.
A Dissolution of a civil partnership follows the same procedure as a divorce i.e., the civil partnership has irretrievably broken down and this is evidenced by using one of four factors:
Two years of separation with both parties consenting to a dissolution.
Desertion for two years (as with divorce procedure, this is very rarely used)
Five years separation where consent of the other party is not required.
Financial Consequences of Dissolution
A dissolution of a civil partnership gives each party the same financial entitlements and outcome as if a marriage were going through a divorce process.
The financial consequences of dissolution are often the most important part of any separation. On a dissolution it is important to consider 3 financial aspects.
Income (how each party is to live day to day)
Capital (where each party is going to live to provide a home )
Pension fund (having a fund of capital and income for the future.)
The courts have a wide discretion to alter income, capital and pension fund with the first priority to ensure that children have a home, The relevant law can be found in s.25 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.
You will often hear lawyers mention " the matrimonial pot" which is an imaginary pot into which all assets of the marriage or civil partnership are placed and are divided up fairly and reasonably, considering fact specific issues.
Both parties are expected to give full disclosure of all income, capital and pension fund. Then, if possible, an agreement is reached either through negotiations between lawyers, mediation, collaborative meetings, or arbitration.
If none of these are suitable for your case, then an application to the family court is made and I will guide you through court proceedings.
Financial aspects of dissolution can include:
Dealing with property either owned jointly or individually.
Pensions which can be shared on a divorce or dissolution or offset against other assets
Payment of capital lump sums
Payment of spousal and child maintenance
Sharing of investments
Valuations of businesses and sharing of business assets
Trusts and Family Settlements
I often deal with cases where individuals have significant assets so called "high net worth individuals" which can involve multi-million-pound settlements.
I have experience of cases where assets are hidden, and investigations are required. Also, with cases where it is necessary to stop one party dissipating assets. In this we apply to the court for an injunction " freezing" assets.
Where companies are involved, I will instruct expert forensic accountants to value businesses and also to examine family trusts. If pension funds are involved, I will instruct pension actuaries to advise in relation to pension sharing.
I understand that financial matters are an important part and can be the most worrying aspect of any separation. My aim is to achieve a positive result for you. With my experience, I will help to overcome any financial concerns you may have surrounding dissolution.
How I Can Help
I know it can be a difficult decision to take steps to dissolve a civil partnership and I will provide you with appropriate legal advice in a timely, cost effective, and productive way. If you wish to discuss matters, please do not hesitate to get in contact with me. With my expertise and knowledge of dissolution, I can guide you through the process.