Civil Partnerships & Same Sex Marriage Solicitors

Getting married or entering a civil partnership is a significant step in anyone’s relationship. Our specialist family lawyers can provide practical help and support throughout the legal process – whether you’re building your relationship, making it legal or if it has broken down.

What is a civil partnership?

In short, it’s a legally recognised relationship between two people of the same sex.

There are several differences between civil partnerships and same sex marriage – but these are subtle. For legal purposes, civil partners can’t call themselves ‘married’ and adultery isn’t recognised as a reason for ending a civil partnership.

The only other difference is to the civil partnership certificate – this includes the names of both parties’ parents, whilst marriage certificates only include the father’s name.

Same sex marriage solicitors

Couples in same sex marriages effectively have the same legal rights as married heterosexual couples. Furthermore, it’s now straightforward for civil partners to convert their partnership into a marriage, should they so wish.

So why choose same sex marriage over a civil partnership? For many, the deciding factor will be having the right to use the term ‘marriage’, which is an important symbol of equality before the law.

Civil partnership dissolution + same sex divorce

The status of your relationship (i.e. whether you’re civil partners or married) will determine how you end it.

If you’re in a civil partnership, you need to apply for a dissolution; whilst if you’re in a same sex marriage, you need to apply for a divorce. However the process for both works in largely the same way.

To apply for a dissolution or divorce, you must have been married or in your civil partnership for at least a year. You must also prove that your relationship has irretrievably broken down, using one of the following reasons:

  1. Adultery – this is only available for divorce where your spouse has had sexual intercourse with someone of the opposite sex
  2. Unreasonable behaviour – such as an affair, regardless of gender
  3. Two years’ separation – with consent from the other party
  4. Five years’ separation
  5. Two years’ desertion

If the judge accepts the application for divorce or dissolution, they’ll grant a Final Order. This formally ends your marriage or civil partnership.

How we can help

Whether you’re securing your future or ending your relationship, for help and advice from a solicitor specialising in civil partnerships and same sex marriage, call us on 0117 325 2929 or complete our online enquiry form.

We offer all new clients a free 30 minute consultation with a legal expert in family law, as well as fixed fees on our family law services so you’ll know exactly how much you’ll pay from the start.




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How can we help you?

We’re here to help. Please fill in the form and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. Or call us on 0117 325 2929.





  • "The Family team combines expertise with a truly client-centred culture."
    Legal 500 UK
  • "Barcan+Kirby are one of the largest family law practices in Bristol and surrounding area. A very capable high street offering with a number of good quality and practical lawyers who are client focused and effective."
    Legal 500 UK
  • "The Family team combines expertise with a truly client-centred culture."
    Legal 500 UK
  • "Thank you for all your expert advice and calming words over what has been a difficult time."
    AnonFamily Matters Client
  • "Thanks for always responding quickly to my emails and calls – your team always made me feel at ease and you have made this process smooth and easier to deal with."
    SarahFamily Matters Client