Our Services:  Dissolution of Civil Partnerships


As a specialist in civil partnerships in Bristol, Clevedon, & Portishead, Harbour Family Law can guide you through the dissolution process, resolving all financial claims.

The dissolution of a Civil Partnership can be started after the first year of the Civil Partnership has elapsed, on the grounds that the Civil Partnership has irretrievably broken down.

The Civil Partnership dissolution process is almost identical to the divorce process. Alongside the dissolution proceedings, you should also consider a financial settlement, which will resolve all financial claims between the two of you.

Experienced Solicitors

Since Harbour Family Law was founded in 2014, our solicitors have supported hundreds of couples through separations and dissolutions.

Every one of our accredited solicitors is a member of Resolution: a community of lawyers dedicated to keeping negotiations as respectful and constructive as possible using expert legal knowledge and, where possible, low-conflict dispute resolution techniques . This is done in the name of protecting families and relationships from further upheaval as far as possible, as well as a creating a less fraught experience for our clients. Two of our lawyers have also chaired the Bristol branch of Resolution.

Many of our lawyers specialise in collaborative law and our practice is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Your Initial Consultation

You may decide to seek legal assistance as soon as you or your former partner begin to think about dissolution proceedings. Conversely, you may come to us midway through challenging negotiations or after spending some time working with another solicitor.

Whenever you book your first meeting with us, you will be greeted in our cosy offices by one of our solicitors. They will listen attentively as you tell them about everything that has occurred in regards to your matter so far and what result you are aiming to achieve. From there, they will be able to inform you of different legal routes you can take and which ones they recommend in particular. They may also discuss other professionals who could assist you in your case- for example, actuaries or property experts. Before you leave, you will be given a clear estimate of the likely legal fees for your matter.

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''Katy Zikking and Harbour Family Law were extremely professional in their approach. Divorces are, I suspect, difficult and emotional times for all involved. Above just being a law firm dealing with the legal aspects of my divorce, I felt supported and guided. I found their advice invaluable, but also I found their approach to be warm and sympathetic – making that trying time much more bearable, and as smooth as could have been expected.''

Mrs. A

Divorce and Financial Remedy

Civil Partnership Dissolution and Financial Arrangements

As a part of the dissolution process, you and your partner should consider how to divide your joint assets. These can include property, debts, investments, pensions and more. We recommend that this should be done out of court whenever possible.

If you're able to come to an agreement yourselves without any external help, a solicitor can check whether the arrangement is an appropriate one and turn it into a binding agreement. The lawyers at Harbour Family Law can also advise you alongside mediation- where the agreement is discussed in the company of an unbiased third person- or help you through negotiations with your partner and their legal team. If you are unable to agree out of court, we can also instruct a barrister to prepare your case for a hearing.

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Child arrangements at the end of Civil Partnership

When a Civil Partnership ends, everyone with parental responsibility over any children involved will need to come to an agreement concerning their future care. If your Civil Partnership with the child’s biological parent began after the child’s birth or adoption, you may not automatically have legal parental responsibility. However, you can seek this either through a parental responsibility agreement or through the courts.

Harbour Family Law always puts the wellbeing of children first in family cases, and we will encourage all parties to do the same. Making arrangements concerning who your child will live with, how they will stay in contact with other parents and how their needs will be met can be a challenging process. Having legal advice on-hand can help you to come into every discussion with all the relevant information and it can give you peace of mind over various difficult decisions. Some families find that mediation sessions or family counselling can help to preserve delicate relationships during this time.

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Housing rights after a Dissolution

Unless a court orders otherwise, both civil partners have a right to stay in the family home they shared during their relationship and neither can force the other to leave.

This is regardless of whether the property is owned or rented and which partner’s name is on the mortgage or lease. Long term, your housing situation is another matter that should be agreed when your Civil Partnership is dissolved. Again, a good lawyer should be able to help you and your partner come to the best possible resolution.

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Applying for Civil Partnership dissolution

To end a Civil Partnership, you or your partner must apply to the court for a dissolution order. The application is based on the partnership having broken down on a permanent basis. In order for the court to recognise this, you will need to write a brief statement to support your application. Unlike the previous system, this statement does not need to go into the specifics of your relationship or assign blame to your partner for the breakdown of the partnership.

The next stage of the process is for the court to make a conditional order of dissolution which can be made final a minimum of six weeks later.

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Our goal is to create a comfortable and uplifting environment where clients can visit our family lawyers in Bristol, Portishead and Clevedon and receive expert legal advice that makes sense.

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