What is a civil partnership?

A civil partnership is a legally recognised union between two people and was created as a legal concept prior to the introduction of same sex marriage. Heterosexual couples are now also able to enter into civil partnerships. The rights of civil partners on relationship breakdown mirror those of divorcees and the process is identical. The distinction however between marriage and civil partnership is that civil partnerships are not legally recognised in all countries and so if you are considering civil partnership over marriage, you should check whether the lack of legal recognition in overseas jurisdictions will impact you, your partner, or your finances.


In the UK, civil partners are treated in the same way as married couples for taxation purposes – this can have a major advantage in terms of inheritance tax (IHT) and capital gains tax (CGT). Registered civil partners are treated in the same way as married couples for most employment and state benefits too.

Civil partnership dissolution

When civil partners decide to separate, this is called a ‘dissolution’. Dissolutions are identical to divorces and the process is the same. Our family law team can advise on all aspects of civil partnership breakdown and dissolution.

A registered civil partnership remains in force until it is dissolved (or in rare cases annulled) by the court. If civil partners separate without dissolving the partnership, neither can enter a new registered partnership, nor get married, until it is dissolved.

Chambers 2024 Firm Logo The Times Best Law Firms 2024 logo Legal 500 2024 Leading Firm

Get in touch

For further information or advice please call our 01753 889995 or email enquiries@bpcollins.co.uk.

Our Divorce and Family services

Civil partnership lawyers

Speak to an expert

Or send us an email