The Civil Partnership Act 2004 allowed same sex couples to enter into a Civil Partnership which gave them the same rights as couples within a marriage.
Same sex marriage was legalised in March 2014.
An anomaly has been that until recently mixed sex couples could not enter into a Civil Partnership.
After a six year Court battle a mixed sex couple have won the fight for mixed sex couples to enter into a Civil Partnership. As a consequence of that the Government estimates that 84,000 mixed sex couples could become Civil Partners this year.
Unfortunately, as with couples who choose to marry, Civil Partnerships can break down.
There is a formal process for dissolving a Civil Partnership akin to a divorce.
The Court can make Maintenance Orders and other forms of financial relief.
In the event of separation, Family Mediation can be an effective way of resolving any difficulties, including issues relating to children.
In financial cases, both participants have to provide full financial disclosure (as in Court proceedings). Once the full financial picture is established the Family Mediator will facilitate discussions and provide information for an informed decision to be made on settlement.
The Mediator will then prepare a Memorandum of Understanding and Open Financial Statement to record proposals which can then be incorporated into a Court Order in the dissolution proceedings.
In children cases the Family Mediator will facilitate discussions on issues such as where a child/children will live and arrangements for seeing the other parent.
The Family Mediator will always encourage active communication between the parties, even in situations where emotions are running high. The welfare of the child will always be the focus, notwithstanding any difficulties between the parents arising from their separation.
Mediation is much more cost effective than protracted Court proceedings. It can also result in decisions being made by the couple, rather than imposed upon them by the Courts.