Civil Partnership Dissolution
Sadly civil partnerships can breakdown and in certain circumstances the civil partnership can be legally brought to an end by dissolution proceedings. The Family Team at Mayo Wynne Baxter knows that separation advice has to be clear, sympathetic and specific to your circumstances.
Our experienced and approachable solicitors have unprecedented knowledge on civil partnership dissolution and separation rights. Your individual circumstances are important to us and the first thing we will do is listen.
If your civil partnership has broken down and is irretrievable, then you can file for dissolution. One of the four following facts will determine an entitlement to a dissolution:
1) Your partner's behaviour is such that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with them
2) Desertion (This is extremely rare, and hard to prove)
3) Two years separation with the consent of your civil partner
4) Five years separation without the consent of your civil partner
You cannot apply for a dissolution until the civil partnership has been in existence for a year and you or your partner must have been resident in England or Wales for six months, or if you or one of you reside in a European Union Country.
Resolving financial issues following the breakdown of a civil partnership can be an extremely stressful and a difficult process for many. Our Team has particular expertise in dealing with complex financial disputes involving the home, businesses, trust assets, maintenance, inheritances and pensions.
Various matters need to be taken into account when deciding how financial issues can be resolved. The first consideration needs to be the welfare of any children of the family. The following also need to be considered:
a) The income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each civil partner has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future including, in the case of earning capacity, any increase in that capacity which would be in the opinion of the Court reasonable to expect a person to take steps to acquire.
b) The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each civil partner has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future.
c) The standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the
d) The ages of each civil partner and the duration of the civil partnership.
e) Any physical and mental disability of each civil partner.
f) Contributions which each civil partner has made or is likely to make in the foreseeable future to the welfare of the family, including any contribution by looking after the home or caring for the family.
g) The conduct of each civil partner, if that conduct is such that it would be in the opinion of the Court to be inequitable to disregard.
h) The value to each civil partner of any benefit which one civil partner because of a dissolution will lose his chance of acquiring (most usually pension provision).
The aim of the Court is to achieve fairness. Often a key factor is the reasonable needs of yourself and your civil partner.
There are different methods available to help you resolve financial matters. These include:
1. Mediation: You and your civil partner meet with an independent Mediator who will help facilitate discussions. If you reach an agreement then the Mediator can draw up "Heads of Agreement" and you can then instruct a Solicitor to prepare a Consent Order so that the agreement can be converted into a legally binding Order.
2. Solicitor-led negotiation: Following the financial disclosure process you and your civil partner would use your solicitors to negotiate a settlement which can then be converted into a legally binding Order. The negotiation is largely based on letter and telephone communication but can be conducted by way of round-table discussion.
3. Court proceedings: If you and your civil partner are not able to reach an agreement between you Court proceedings can be issued. Generally speaking the process will involve the following stages:
• Exchange of financial disclosure.
• A First Appointment at court where a Judge will consider the case and determine what further information is needed.
• Gathering of any further information and complying with the timetable that has been set down by the court.
• A Financial Dispute Resolution Appointment where a Judge will consider the case and give an indication of what would be an appropriate settlement.
• If you and your civil parter are unable to reach an agreement following the above steps the matter will then be set down for a Final Hearing where a Judge will hear evidence and then decide how the financial issues should be resolved and make a Final Order accordingly.
It is worth noting that if an agreement can be reached during any of the stages above that agreement can be converted into a Consent Order and submitted to the Court for approval to conclude matters.
This is a brief explanation of how dissolution and financial issues are dealt with and is not intended to be a substitute for tailored assistance to your circumstances. Contact our Family Law Team today to arrange an appointment for further expert advice.