Civil partnerships were introduced for gay couples as an interim measure before gay marriage was legalised. Effectively they have the same legal status as marriage although civil partners cannot call themselves 'married' in legal terms. There are also differences in the registration of both parents of both parties on the certificate (in marriage only the father is listed) and adultery is not grounds to dissolve the partnership.

Dissolution of Partnership

As in marriage, a Civil Partnership is not eligible for dissolution until at least one year old. The partner applying for the partnership to be dissolved has to show that there has been an irretrievable break down in the relationship, on one of the following grounds:

* unreasonable behaviour
* two years separation with both spouses consenting
* five years separation without consent
* desertion of one spouse by the other
( Adultery is not included but this could be cited as unreasonable behaviour).

When a couple enter a Civil Partnership they have certain rights and responsibilities. These rights will be considered when dissolution is applied for including:

* fair arrangements for division of property and assets
* residence arrangements
* appropriate contact with children (although this should also be the case when a couple were living together and both partners have parental responsibilty)

When a Partner Dies

Rights and responsibilities following the death of a civil partner include:

* right to register the death of a partner
* right to claim a survivor pension
* eligibility for bereavement benefits
* compensation for fatal accidents or criminal injuries
* recognition under inheritance and intestacy rules
* tenancy succession rights

The Gay Switchboard (lsee right) should be able to point you in the direction of a gay solicitor who can help with issues relating to Civil Partnership including dissolution.

To see the Civil Partnership Act in full visit:


Legal Links

Community Legal Service
Government Agency offering advice on a range of legal issues including family law

UK Court Service
Information and leaflets about the UK court system

Resolution (formerly Solicitor's Family Law Association)
Find a solicitor who is a member of resolution, encouraging amicable settlements for children

See our links page for further links and support