At WBW we know that families come in all shapes and sizes and we have experience of offering assistance to all including those who have entered into Civil Partnerships.
The issues which those in Civil Partnerships face are the same as for all other families facing family breakdown, such as the anxiety and uncertainty about future financial arrangements and about making arrangements for children.
At WBW we have a number of experienced practitioners, many who are accredited specialists who can assist you with all of these issues, both legal and practical, by explaining the process and discussing with you the issues and concerns which you have.
We understand the sensitivities associated with relationship breakdown and can provide practical and legal advice about how to address and resolve those, discuss and consider with you how you would like to resolve those issues, whether through a Court process or an alternative and assist you to deal with matters in a way that you believe is best for you and your family.
My civil partnership has broken down and we are in the process of dissolving this but I am worried about what happens about the house and sorting out a financial settlement. What happens next?
The Civil Partnership Act 2004 (“CPA”) makes provision for how financial relief can be obtained when a partnership ends. The court can make orders for: – periodical payments (maintenance) – lump sums – property adjustment (eg. what is to happen to the home – is it to be sold, transferred or dealt with in some other way?) – variation of an existing settlement – pension sharing When considering making a financial order the court has to take into consideration many different factors such as income, earning capacity and other financial resources, the financial needs and obligations of each civil partner and the standard of living enjoyed by the family prior to the breackdown of the partnership as well as the age of each partner and the duration of the partnership, any physical or mental disability, the contributions which each has made or is likely to make in the foreseeable future to the welfare of the family as well as the effect of the dissolution upon pensions and inheritance and occasionally the conduct of each partner. Before any Court applcation it is usual to try to resolve the issues through negotiation. Most importantly it is definitely sensible to seek legal advice, as can be seen from what is written above, there is a lot to consider and advice at an early stage may well save you considerable time and money.
My partner has parental responsibility for his/her children, now that we are in a civil partnership – how do I obtain parental responsibility?
“Parental Responsibility” (“PR”) is a phrase used in the Children Act 1989 to refer to “the legal rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which a parent has over a child and his property”. The Children Act provides for the acquisition of PR by civil partners in the same way that step parents can gain PR after marriage. This can be either by agreement with the person who already has PR, or with the agreement of both the child’s parents if they both have PR. (there is a specific form that needs to be completed by both parties and by the court. This document then has to be registered at the Principal Registry). Alternatively, the step parent can apply to the court for PR. Again, it would be sensible to obtain detailed legal advice before embarking on any court action as if there is a dispute over PR it might be helpful to consider mediation as method to try and resolve the issue without the need for court proceedings.
My relationship has broken down – how do I end my civil partnership?
The process to dissolve your civil partnership is very similar to the procedure used for a divorce in that you file a petition, obtain a “conditional order” and then a “final order” which finally dissolves your partnership. You have to have been in your registered civil partnership for a year before you can apply for dissolution and you have to show that the relationship has “irretrievably broken down” on the basis of one of four facts. If you have children it will also be necessary to complete a “statement of arrangements for children” setting out details of the children and the arrangements for them. The whole process can take on average a period of about 6 months but on the basis that the petition is not defended by your partner there should not be any need for either of you to attend court and the case can be dealt with “on paper”.