Dissolution of Civil Partnerships in Northern Ireland

25 July 2013

Worthingtons Solicitors provide legal advice on the dissolution of Civil Partnerships.

The Dissolution of civil partnerships in Northern Ireland is governed by the Civil Partnership Act 2004.

The Petitioner must satisfy the Court that the civil partnership has irretrievably broken down, as evidenced by one of the following grounds:

·Two years separation with the consent of the other party

·Five years separation

·Unreasonable behaviour

·Desertion.

Once the proceedings are served on the Respondent, they have an opportunity to defend the Petition by way of lodging an Answer and Cross Petition, should they so wish. Once the matter is ready for hearing, it is listed before the relevant Court.

If the Court is satisfied that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, a Conditional Order will be granted, six weeks and one day after which the Petitioner may apply to the Court for the Conditional Order to be made Final.

If the petitioner fails to apply for the Conditional Order to be made Final, then the Respondent may make the application themselves once three months have passed, with the leave of the Court. It is only once the Conditional Order is made Final that the Civil Partnership is formally resolved, and either or both parties are free to enter into another Civil Partnership, or to remarry.

Either party may make an application to the court in respect of the finances of the Civil Partnership, on which basis the Court can adjudicate in respect of maintenance, property and financial considerations. This can be done at any stage during the proceedings; however it is advisable to do once prior to the Final Order having been granted. Legal Aid may be available for these proceedings, however the statutory charge may apply.

Elaine Keenan is a Solicitor with Worthingtons Solicitors and specialises in Family Law.  Submit any queries in relation to this article in the enquiry form below and a member of our Family Law team will be happy to respond directly.

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