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Civil Partnerships

The legal status of your Civil Partnership

What is involved?

A civil partnership is the registration of a relationship between two members of the same sex or two members of the opposite sex.

Civil partners are treated in the same way as married couples for some tax purposes and many benefits. Most pension entitlement has been brought into line with that enjoyed by married people.

Civil partners have a duty to maintain each other and any children of the partnership. They are also able to acquire parental responsibility for their partners’ children in certain circumstances and adopt a child jointly

Click here to download our Civil Partnerships print-out guide.

Why choose Freeths?

  • We can explain the different legal procedures that might apply if the civil partnership breaks down
  • We can advise you on how any subsequent dissolution could affect your financial circumstances
  • We are ranked in the top tier by both the Legal 500 and Chambers for family law advice
  • You can trust our team to take a sensitive, empathetic approach to your personal situation

Call our nationally renowned family team to find out how we can help you.

Is Civil Partnership like a Marriage?

Yes and no. The eligibility criteria are broadly similar. Each party must not already be married or a civil partner and must not be under 16 years old or closely related. You have to provide 29 days notice to your local register office after which you can register your civil partnership by signing a civil partnership schedule in front of a registrar and two witnesses. There cannot be a religious element to the ceremony.

What about “divorce”?

A civil partnership can be ended by death, dissolution or annulment. As with divorce, dissolution is a court-based process. The grounds for ending the partnership are very similar to those for divorce and are unreasonable behaviour, two years’ separation (with consent), 5 years’ separation (without consent), or if one partner has deserted the other for two years.

A civil partner will not be able to apply for a Dissolution Order until a year has elapsed since the formation of the partnership. A Dissolution Order is initially conditional and finalised six weeks later, similar to a divorce.

The courts have the power to make provision for the division of property, pension sharing the maintenance of either civil partner and residence, as well as contact with, and maintenance of, any children of the partnership. The type of orders that can be made and matters that should be taken into account are closely allied to those in divorce legislation.

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