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Divorce / Dissolution of Civil Partnerships

Since midnight on 28th March 2014, gay couples have been able to legally marry in England and Wales. In addition, since 10th December 2014, couples in a civil partnership can convert that civil partnership into marriage.

A divorce is the legal process of ending a marriage (including for same sex couples). A dissolution ends a civil partnership. A divorce/dissolution gives the court power to make financial orders, regardless of gender and puts same sex couples, in many respects, in the same position as any other married couple.(with some exceptions).

A couple must have been married or civil partners for a year before they can start proceedings.

There is only one ground for divorce in this country, and that is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.   To be able to prove an irretrievable breakdown, you must prove one of five facts

  • Your spouse has committed adultery and you find it intolerable to live with them
  • Your spouse has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with them
  • Your spouse has deserted you for more than two years
  • You have lived apart for a continuous period of 2 years and your spouse agrees to a divorce
  • You have lived apart for a continuous period of 5 years

In respect of ending a civil partnership, the grounds are identical save that there is no adultery ground available.

A divorce or dissolution usually takes between four and six months if it is not defended and normally no attendance at court will be required.

If the other party decides to defend the divorce or dissolution, then it can take up to 9 months to conclude and at least one attendance at court will be required, perhaps two.

The divorce/dissolution is in two parts. A conditional order is granted first but the marriage/civil partnership is not finally ended until the final order is pronounced.

Whilst divorce procedure is not complicated, there are a number of things that can go wrong. Our experienced divorce lawyers can help you to navigate the legal maze of divorce, from start to finish.

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