Civil Partnership FAQs

Our family solicitors answer some of the questions they get asked most often regarding civil partnerships.

If you have a question that isn’t listed or would like more information, please don’t hesitate to contact our family law team on 0800 2800 421 and we’ll be happy to help.

What is the meaning of a civil partnership?

A civil partnership is a relationship that has been legally registered between two people, offering them similar rights and responsibilities as a marriage. When they were first introduced in 2004, civil partnerships could only be entered into by same-sex couples. However, heterosexual couples can now also choose a civil partnership over marriage.

How do civil partnerships differ from marriage?

Couples in a civil partnership benefit from the same rights as married couples in terms of benefits, pensions and inheritance. However, there are a few differences between the two options including:

· There is no religious element associated with civil partnerships

· A civil partnership certificate requires the names of both parents of the people entering into it, whereas a marriage certificate requires just the father’s name

· Civil partners cannot call themselves married for legal reasons

· A civil partnership is ended with a dissolution by obtaining a dissolution order while a marriage ends in divorce by obtaining a decree absolute

Is there a civil partnership for heterosexual couples?

Civil partnerships for heterosexuals have been legal since 2019. Many people believe civil partnerships are for same-sex couples only, because when they were first introduced in 2004 to allow gay couples to access the same rights as heterosexual couples, they were. However, in 2014 same-sex marriage was made legal and so they could choose between a civil partnership and marriage, but heterosexual couples could not. So, in 2019, the government allowed civil partnerships to be available to heterosexual couples too.

What is a dissolved civil partnership?

A dissolved civil partnership is a partnership that has legally ended, similar to a divorce. To dissolve your civil partnership, you need to have been in the partnership for at least a year and need to apply to a court.

How do you end a civil partnership?

A civil partnership can only be ended on the death of one party, dissolution or annulment. To obtain a dissolution, you have to have been in the partnership for over a year and will need to apply to a court for permission and prove the relationship has irretrievably broken down. A breakdown of a civil partnership may give rise to various issues including financial claims and arrangements for children, so it’s advisable you seek legal representation to ensure a fair and legally binding outcome.

Can you have a ‘pre-nup’ when entering into a civil partnership?

Yes, when entering into a civil partnership you are able to create either a pre or post nuptial agreement. A nuptial agreement allows both parties to clearly specify how their money, properties and inheritances are to be treated should the partnership break down, giving you peace of mind that both of your interests are protected.

Is a heterosexual civil partnership the same as same-sex civil partnerships?

Yes, civil partnerships for heterosexual couples is the same as a civil partnership for same-sex couples.

What can I do if I want to dissolve the civil partnership after less than 1 year?

You cannot legally dissolve a civil partnership if it has lasted for less than one year. You can, however, apply for a separation order which allows you to legally live apart. You can also apply for a separation order if you do not want to dissolve the civil partnership.


If you’d like more information about any of the legal issues raised here about civil partnerships, please contact Trethowans today on 0800 2800 421.