A reader asks our legal experts for advice on how to dissolve a civil partnership when one of them lives outside the UK. Megan Bennie, a solicitor at Grayfords Law looks into the case.

How do I dissolve a civil partnership, if one of us lives abroad?

Dear Legal Clinic,

Hello. I have me tried in many ways to obtain the necessary information with no success. I hope you can help. Both my ex-partner and I wish to dissolve our civil partnership.

The issue is I live abroad in Greece and he is in London. We have no mutual assets. We’ve been using documents from the Internet and posting to the court. But there are no guidelines for this process with one of us being non-domicile. I cannot get any documentation or information as I am not UK resident.

Do we need for lawyers to be involved?  Just need to know the system.



Dear Malcolm,

Thank you for your questions.  We live in an increasingly international world and now it is by no means unusual for a couple to be different nationalities, to live or marry abroad…and even to divorce from abroad. So don’t worry, there is a way through.  Even if you are living abroad, you can petition for a dissolution of your civil partnership on the basis that you last lived as a partnered couple in England and Wales (if this is the case) and/or your civil partner lives in England and Wales. One hurdle you might find harder to overcome is that you MUST have either your original marriage certificate or a certified copy (and a translation if it is not in the English or Welsh language). You can order a copy from the General Register Office for about £10.  https://www.gro.gov.uk   

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If you’re abroad and still on fairly amicable terms with your ex, have you thought about him applying for the dissolution? Unfortunately, you can’t apply together, even if you both agree the partnership has come to an end. However, that’s not to say you can’t work together to agree the paperwork in advance and split the fee. If your ex-partner still has an address in the UK it is likelier to be far quicker and easier for him to deal with the paperwork and get things moving.

Best of luck with moving the dissolution forward. The process usually takes 6-9 months so the sooner you start, the sooner you can reach the finish line and start your new legally separate lives. 

 Megan Bennie– Solicitor at Grayfords

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The advice given here is provided for free and is not intended to replace legal advice from your own legal representatives who will better know and understand your circumstances and situation. Before acting on any information you should check with your own legal representatives.
About the author: Grayfords
At Grayfords we aim to provide a transparent, cost-effective service which is tailored to each individual client. No two relationships are identical and no two relationship breakdowns are either. We can provide confidential advice on ending a marriage or partnership, property and children. You can call 0800 222 9500 to book a free initial telephone appointment no matter where you are located.