The first civil partnerships in the UK were formed in December 2005, while the first same-sex marriages were held in March 2014. For almost a decade in between, civil partnerships were the only formal legal coupling option for same-sex pairs, and they remain an option since the introduction of same-sex marriage as well, although civil partnerships have not been introduced for mixed-sex couples.
Civil partnerships were originally envisioned as a same-sex equivalent to marriage, while taking into account objections from religious leaders against calling same-sex couplings ‘marriage’. As such, ending a civil partnership is broadly similar to divorcing a marriage, and the mediation process is largely the same too.
However, the reasons why a civil partnership may be dissolved are a little more restricted – in law there is no concept of ‘adultery’ involving a member of the same sex, and as such a civil partnership may generally only be dissolved due to a lengthy period of separation or adverse behaviour by one partner.
All of this means it is unlikely that dissolution proceedings can be sought without one partner taking the blame for the breakdown of the relationship, even if the separation is by mutual consent – and like no-blame divorce, this is a topic that will continue to be debated unless the law is changed in future.
Mediation can provide some respite from this ‘blame culture’ by ensuring the separation does not have to go as far as formal court proceedings, and that both parties’ views can be heard equally. While one party will still technically be the applicant and the other the respondent, a mediator is there to prevent anyone from receiving an unfair advantage in the negotiations by being treated as the victim.
This is not about taking rights away from anyone – quite the opposite, as mediation always works towards a faster, less costly, less stressful resolution that is mutually agreeable, and which fills in any remaining gaps in the law for same-sex couples on issues like parental responsibility and custody of any children you may have together.
Your mediator is on your side, in the sense that they will work to find the best overall solution for all concerned, minimising the emotional distress and the financial hardship of separation, and giving you both the best platform to move forwards into the next stage of your lives
After the Mediation
By using accredited family mediation techniques and by simply being there for you when you need it, Marcia Mediation will take you way beyond the dissolution of your partnership so that you and your ex-partner are both aligned towards the overall happiness of both parties.
A pioneer for mediation since commencing legal practice as a family solicitor some seventeen years ago Marcia has worked exclusively as an independent mediator since 2004, focusing initially on family mediation, and latterly on work place mediation.
Marcia’s accreditations include both Work Place and Family Mediation and she is a qualified child consultant practitioner. Her associations include the Professional Mediators Association and Resolution.