Do I have the same rights as a married person if I divorce my civil partner?

A civil partnership is a legally confirmed relationship between two people of the same sex, akin in law to a marriage. Like a marriage, it is possible to end a civil partnership in a number of ways including a dissolution order, which is the equivalent of a divorce as well as separation and annulment orders which are exactly the same as would occur in a marriage.
As with a marriage, the ending of a civil partnership can be a difficult and emotionally challenging time. Civil partnerships confer legal rights and obligations on a couple equivalent to if they were married. As with divorce, dissolution of a civil partnership can have effects on financial affairs, housing and the ongoing care of children.
If you are in a civil partnership and are considering a dissolution you should take legal advice from a family law solicitor with experience dealing with civil partnership law. Your solicitor will advise you on the best way to approach the dissolution to ensure you both achieve the best outcome possible.
Your solicitor will need to apply for a dissolution order, which can only be filed after one year has passed since your civil partnership was registered. If your relationship is in trouble before a year has passed, you can ask your solicitor to file for a separation order. Dissolution orders are founded on the basis that a relationship has broken down, something which is based on one of four grounds. If proven and the other party agrees to the dissolution, it can be finalised within six weeks of the first application.
Civil partnership confers rights on both parties. As with a divorce, the matter of the ongoing care of any children will need to be addressed as a separate matter by the courts. The courts will encourage family mediation in the first instance, and will delay a decision on the dissolution until matters relating to children are resolved. The courts will also need to address the issue of the division of assets and housing. If as a civil partner you are not an owner occupier you may wish to protect your right to stay in a property by registering your interest at the Land Charges Department. 
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