Civil Partnership and 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 through marriage or civil partnership, or if it has broken down.
What is a civil partnership?
In short, it’s a legally recognised relationship between two people. Until 31st December 2019, only same-sex couples could enter into a civil partnership.
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 rights
Couples in same sex marriages effectively have the same legal rights as married heterosexual couples. It’s also 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 and 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:
- Adultery – this is only available for divorce where your spouse has had sexual intercourse with someone of the opposite sex
- Unreasonable behaviour – such as an affair, regardless of gender
- Two years’ separation – with consent from the other party
- Five years’ separation
- 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.
Contact our civil partnership and same sex marriage solicitors
For help and advice from a solicitor specialising in civil partnerships and same sex marriage, call us on 0117 325 2929, click here to make an immediate start online or complete our online enquiry form.
In some areas of family law, we offer a complimentary introductory meeting with a member of our family law team. This 30-minute meeting is designed for you to get to know your solicitor and to discuss your options. If specific advice is required and you’d like to continue past the 30 minutes, please let your solicitor know and you may be able to carry on into a more detailed consultation. This time will be chargeable, but your solicitor will tell you how much it will be.