Grounds for ending a civil partnership

When you apply to end your civil partnership (‘dissolution’), you’ll need to prove your relationship has broken down and cannot be saved.

You’ll need to give one or more of the following 4 reasons (also known as ‘facts’).

Unreasonable behaviour

Your civil partner has behaved in a way that means you cannot reasonably be expected to live with them.

This could include:

  • physical or mental cruelty
  • verbal or physical abuse
  • being irresponsible with money
  • being sexually unfaithful

Desertion

Your civil partner has intentionally left you for at least 2 years.

You can still claim desertion if you have lived together for up to a total of 6 months in this period. This will not count towards the 2 years.

You’ve been separated for at least 2 years

You can apply to end your civil partnership if you’ve been separated for at least 2 years before applying and you both agree to end the civil partnership.

Your civil partner must agree in writing to end the civil partnership.

It may be possible for you to show that you’ve been separated while living in the same home as your civil partner as long as you’re not living together as a couple (for example you sleep and eat apart).

You’ve been separated for at least 5 years

You can apply to end your civil partnership if you’ve been separated for at least 5 years, even if your civil partner disagrees.