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Taking civil partnership seriously.

By Elaine Richardson

It has been 10 years since Civil Partnerships were introduced on a legal basis in the UK.

The law has recently progressed again with Gay Marriage, but the fact is that more and more gay and lesbian couples are seeking to dissolve their civil partnership.

Although it may not be ‘the same’ as marriage in title, dissolving a civil partnership is effectively still divorce, and the Law Society has warned that it is essential to seek legal advice after your relationship has broken down.

The Office for National Statistics reports that the number of dissolved civil partnerships has risen by twenty per cent since 2012.  In the light of this statistic, it is important that same-sex couples seek legal advice before breaking up because an experienced family solicitor can advise you on a fair outcome when your civil partnership has ended.

Dissolving a civil partnership has the same legal ramifications as ending a marriage by divorce, although some people may not be aware that their ex-partner has a claim on the assets because civil partnerships are relatively new.

Some couples have a pre-civil agreement or ‘pre-cip’ (equivalent to a ‘pre-nuptial’ agreement) in place before they registered their civil partnership. This is a sensible way to protect your financial position in the event of separation.

It is particularly important to get good legal advice and a plan of action if you have children because you will have their welfare as a priority.  You will have to continue to co-parent the children in the future and resolving the situation in a non-confrontational way by agreement is something that a good family lawyer will always recommend.

Not all courts are able to issue a dissolution petition and deal with financial matters and an experienced family lawyer will be able to guide you through such pitfalls and ensure a smooth progression to a fair settlement in the shortest time.

Here are the facts from the Office for National Statistics:-

  • The number of civil partnerships formed in the UK in 2013 was 6,276, a decrease of 11% since 2012.
  • The mean age of men forming a civil partnership in the UK in 2013 was 40.6 years, while for women it was 37.8 years. These figures represent a small increase in mean ages when compared to 2012.
  • The number of civil partnership dissolutions granted in England and Wales in 2013 was 974, an increase of 20% since 2012.

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