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Civil Partnership Bill [HL]


Civil Partnership Bill [HL]
Part 4 — Civil partnership: Northern Ireland
Chapter 2 — Dissolution, nullity and other proceedings

80

 

165     

Time bar on applications for dissolution orders

(1)   

No application for a dissolution order may be made to the court before the end

of the period of 2 years from the date of the formation of the civil partnership.

(2)   

Nothing in this section prevents the making of an application based on matters

which occurred before the end of the 2 year period.

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166     

Attempts at reconciliation of civil partners

(1)   

This section applies in relation to cases where an application is made for a

dissolution or separation order.

(2)   

If at any stage of proceedings for the order it appears to the court that there is

a reasonable possibility of a reconciliation between the civil partners, the court

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may adjourn the proceedings for such period as it thinks fit to enable attempts

to be made to effect a reconciliation between them.

(3)   

If during any such adjournment the parties resume living with other in the

same household, no account is to be taken of the fact for the purposes of the

proceedings.

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(4)   

The power to adjourn under subsection (2) is additional to any other power of

adjournment.

167     

Consideration by the court of certain agreements or arrangements

(1)   

This section applies to cases where—

(a)   

proceedings for a dissolution or separation order are contemplated or

20

have begun, and

(b)   

an agreement or arrangement is made or proposed to be made between

the civil partners which relates to, arises out of, or is connected with, the

proceedings.

(2)   

Rules of court may make provision for enabling—

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(a)   

the civil partners, or either of them, on application made either before

or after the making of the application for a dissolution or separation

order, to refer the agreement or arrangement to the court, and

(b)   

the court—

(i)   

to express an opinion, if it thinks it desirable to do so, as to the

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reasonableness of the agreement or arrangement, and

(ii)   

to give such directions, if any, in the matter as it thinks fit.

Dissolution of civil partnership

168     

Dissolution of civil partnership which has broken down irretrievably

(1)   

Subject to section 165, an application for a dissolution order may be made to

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the court by either civil partner on the ground that the civil partnership has

broken down irretrievably.

(2)   

On an application for a dissolution order the court must inquire, so far as it

reasonably can, into—

(a)   

the facts alleged by the applicant, and

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(b)   

any facts alleged by the respondent.

 

 

Civil Partnership Bill [HL]
Part 4 — Civil partnership: Northern Ireland
Chapter 2 — Dissolution, nullity and other proceedings

81

 

(3)   

The court hearing an application for a dissolution order must not hold that the

civil partnership has broken down irretrievably unless the applicant satisfies

the court of one or more of the facts described in subsection (5)(a), (b), (c) or (d).

(4)   

But if the court is satisfied of any of those facts, it must make a dissolution

order unless it is satisfied on all the evidence that the civil partnership has not

5

broken down irretrievably.

(5)   

The facts referred to in subsections (3) and (4) are—

(a)   

that the respondent has behaved in such a way that the applicant

cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent;

(b)   

that—

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(i)   

the applicant and the respondent have lived apart for a

continuous period of at least 2 years immediately preceding the

making of the application (“2 years’ separation”), and

(ii)   

the respondent consents to a dissolution order being made;

(c)   

that the applicant and the respondent have lived apart for a continuous

15

period of at least 5 years immediately preceding the making of the

application (“5 years’ separation”);

(d)   

that the respondent has deserted the applicant for a continuous period

of at least 2 years immediately preceding the making of the application.

(6)   

The court must not make a dissolution order without considering the oral

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testimony of the applicant unless for special reasons it orders that such

testimony be dispensed with.

169     

Supplemental provisions as to facts raising presumption of breakdown

(1)   

Subsection (2) applies if—

(a)   

in any proceedings for a dissolution order the applicant alleges, in

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reliance on section 168(5)(a), that the respondent has behaved in such a

way that the applicant cannot reasonably be expected to live with the

respondent, but

(b)   

after the date of the occurrence of the final incident relied on by the

applicant and held by the court to support his allegation, the applicant

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and the respondent have lived together for a period (or periods) which

does not, or which taken together do not, exceed 6 months.

(2)   

The fact that the applicant and respondent have lived together as mentioned in

subsection (1)(b) must be disregarded in determining, for the purposes of

section 168(5)(a), whether the applicant cannot reasonably be expected to live

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with the respondent.

(3)   

Subsection (4) applies in relation to cases where the applicant alleges, in

reliance on section 168(5)(b), that the respondent consents to a dissolution

order being made.

(4)   

Rules of court must make provision for the purpose of ensuring that the

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respondent has been given such information as will enable him to

understand—

(a)   

the consequences to him of consenting to the order, and

(b)   

the steps which he must take to indicate his consent.

(5)   

For the purposes of section 168(5)(d) the court may treat a period of desertion

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as having continued at a time when the deserting civil partner was incapable

of continuing the necessary intention, if the evidence before the court is such

 

 

Civil Partnership Bill [HL]
Part 4 — Civil partnership: Northern Ireland
Chapter 2 — Dissolution, nullity and other proceedings

82

 

that, had he not been so incapable, the court would have inferred that the

desertion continued at that time.

(6)   

In considering for the purposes of section 168(5) whether the period for which

the civil partners have lived apart or the period for which the respondent has

deserted the applicant has been continuous, no account is to be taken of—

5

(a)   

any one period not exceeding 6 months, or

(b)   

any two or more periods not exceeding 6 months in all,

   

during which the civil partners resumed living together.

(7)   

But no period during which the civil partners have lived with each other

counts as part of the period during which the civil partners have lived apart or

10

as part of the period of desertion.

(8)   

For the purposes of section 168(5)(b) and (c) and this section civil partners are

to be treated as living apart unless they are living with each other in the same

household, and references in this section to civil partners living with each other

are to be read as references to their living with each other in the same

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household.

170     

Dissolution order not precluded by previous separation order etc.

(1)   

Subsections (2) and (3) apply if any of the following orders has been made in

relation to a civil partnership—

(a)   

a separation order;

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(b)   

an order under Schedule 16 (financial relief in court of summary

jurisdiction etc.);

(c)   

an occupation order under Article 11 of the Family Homes and

Domestic Violence (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 (S.I. 1998/1071 (N.I.

6) (occupation orders));

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(d)   

an order under Article 15 of that Order (orders where neither civil

partner entitled to occupy the home).

(2)   

Nothing prevents—

(a)   

either civil partner from applying for a dissolution order, or

(b)   

the court from making a dissolution order,

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on the same facts, or substantially the same facts, as those proved in support of

the making of the order referred to in subsection (1).

(3)   

On the application for the dissolution order, the court—

(a)   

may treat the order referred to in subsection (1) as sufficient proof of

any desertion or other fact by reference to which it was made, but

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(b)   

must not make the dissolution order without receiving evidence from

the applicant.

(4)   

If—

(a)   

the application for the dissolution order follows a separation order or

any order requiring the civil partners to live apart,

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(b)   

there was a period of desertion immediately preceding the institution

of the proceedings for the separation order, and

(c)   

the civil partners have not resumed living together and the separation

order has been continuously in force since it was made,

 

 

Civil Partnership Bill [HL]
Part 4 — Civil partnership: Northern Ireland
Chapter 2 — Dissolution, nullity and other proceedings

83

 

   

the period of desertion is to be treated for the purposes of the application for

the dissolution order as if it had immediately preceded the making of the

application.

(5)   

For the purposes of section 168(5)(d) the court may treat as a period during

which the respondent has deserted the applicant any period during which

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there is in force—

(a)   

an injunction granted by the High Court or a county court which

excludes the respondent from the civil partnership home, or

(b)   

an order under Article 11 or 15 of the Family Homes and Domestic

Violence (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 (S.I. 1998/1071 (N.I. 6)) which

10

prohibits the respondent from occupying a dwelling-house in which

the applicant and the respondent have, or at any time have had, a civil

partnership home.

171     

Refusal of dissolution in 5 year separation cases on ground of grave hardship

(1)   

The respondent to an application for a dissolution order in which the applicant

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alleges 5 years’ separation may oppose the making of an order on the ground

that—

(a)   

the dissolution of the civil partnership will result in grave financial or

other hardship to him, and

(b)   

it would in all the circumstances be wrong to dissolve the civil

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partnership.

(2)   

Subsection (3) applies if—

(a)   

the making of a dissolution order is opposed under this section,

(b)   

the court finds that the applicant is entitled to rely in support of his

application on the fact of 5 years’ separation and makes no such finding

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as to any other fact mentioned in section 168(5), and

(c)   

apart from this section, the court would make a dissolution order.

(3)   

The court must—

(a)   

consider all the circumstances, including the conduct of the civil

partners and the interests of the civil partners and of any children or

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other persons concerned, and

(b)   

if it is of the opinion that the ground mentioned in subsection (1) is

made out, dismiss the application for the dissolution order.

(4)   

“Hardship” includes the loss of the chance of acquiring any benefit which the

respondent might acquire if the civil partnership were not dissolved.

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172     

Proceedings before order made final: protection for respondent in separation

cases

(1)   

The court may, on an application made by the respondent, rescind a

conditional dissolution order if—

(a)   

it made the order on the basis of a finding that the applicant was

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entitled to rely on the fact of 2 years’ separation coupled with the

respondent’s consent to a dissolution order being made,

(b)   

it made no such finding as to any other fact mentioned in section 168(5),

and

 

 

Civil Partnership Bill [HL]
Part 4 — Civil partnership: Northern Ireland
Chapter 2 — Dissolution, nullity and other proceedings

84

 

(c)   

it is satisfied that the applicant misled the respondent (whether

intentionally or unintentionally) about any matter which the

respondent took into account in deciding to give his consent.

(2)   

Subsections (3) to (5) apply if—

(a)   

the respondent to an application for a dissolution order in which the

5

applicant alleged—

(i)   

2 years’ separation coupled with the respondent’s consent to a

dissolution order being made, or

(ii)   

5 years’ separation,

   

has applied to the court for consideration under subsection (3) of his

10

financial position after the dissolution of the civil partnership, and

(b)   

the court—

(i)   

has made a conditional dissolution order on the basis of a

finding that the applicant was entitled to rely in support of his

application on the fact of 2 years’ or 5 years’ separation, and

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(ii)   

has made no such finding as to any other fact mentioned in

section 168(5).

(3)   

The court hearing an application by the respondent under subsection (2) must

consider all the circumstances, including—

(a)   

the age, health, conduct, earning capacity, financial resources and

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financial obligations of each of the parties, and

(b)   

the financial position of the respondent as, having regard to the

dissolution, it is likely to be after the death of the applicant should the

applicant die first.

(4)   

The court must not make the order final unless it has, by order, declared that it

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is satisfied that—

(a)   

the applicant should not be required to make any financial provision

for the respondent,

(b)   

the financial provision made by the applicant for the respondent is—

(i)   

reasonable and fair, or

30

(ii)   

the best that can be made in the circumstances, or

(c)   

there are circumstances making it desirable that the order should be

made final without delay.

(5)   

The court must not make an order declaring that it is satisfied as mentioned in

subsection (4)(c) unless it has obtained a satisfactory undertaking from the

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applicant that he will bring the question of financial provision for the

respondent before the court within a specified time.

(6)   

Subsection (7) applies if, following an application under subsection (2) which

is not withdrawn, the court makes the order final without making an order

under subsection (4).

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(7)   

The final order is voidable at the instance of the respondent or of the court but

no person is entitled to challenge the validity of the order after it is made final

on the ground that subsections (4) and (5) were not satisfied.

(8)   

If the court refuses to make an order under subsection (4), it must, on an

application by the applicant, make an order declaring that it is not satisfied as

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mentioned in that subsection.

 

 

 
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