LGBTQ+ Relationships & the Law

Over the last few years there have been many changes in the law in regard to the LGBTQ+ community and their relationship rights. Entering a legally recognised relationship or starting a family, holds special consideration for LGBTQ+ people and we want to support and protect your rights.

Our specialist team can provide expert advice in relation to a variety of issues and can assist where disputes have arisen.

We can provide advice about the creation of relationships, for example entering into a Civil Partnership or same-sex marriage, Pre and Post Registration Agreements, and Cohabitation Agreements. 

Civil Partnership – Pre/Post Registration Agreements

The Civil Partnership Act came into effect in December 2005 and Brighton was one of first places in the UK to host a registration ceremony.

Understanding civil partnership law

Once you have registered your Civil Partnership, you become a family. There are strict guidelines as to who can and cannot enter into a partnership, and these are broadly in line with the rules governing marriage, with the obvious gender exception.

The differences between Civil Partnership and marriage are few. Many people prefer a Civil Partnership because it does not have the religious connotations of a marriage.  Like a marriage, a Civil Partnership can only be ended by a court order, in the same way as a divorce. This is known as dissolution. The Civil Partnership Act also recognises foreign same sex marriages, but only as Civil Partnerships.

Civil Partnership Dissolution

Sadly, Civil Partnerships can breakdown and in certain circumstances the Civil Partnership can be legally brought to an end by dissolution proceedings.

If you believe that the breakdown of your Civil Partnership is irretrievable, then you can file for dissolution. One of the four following facts will determine an entitlement to a dissolution: 

  1. Your partner's behaviour is such that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with them;
  2. Desertion (This is extremely rare, and hard to prove);
  3. Two years’ separation with the consent of your civil partner;
  4. Five years’ separation without the consent of your civil partner.

You cannot apply for a dissolution until the Civil Partnership has been in existence for a year and you can satisfy jurisdictional requirements of habitual residence or domicile in England and Wales.  Our Team can advise on any issues of habitual residence or domicile.

On 6 April 2022 the law is changing to enable Civil Partners to apply for a dissolution of their civil partnership without having to rely on any of the facts above.  Our Team will be able to fully advise on this change to the law and procedure.

Further advice in respect of the arrangements for dividing the assets can be found on the following pages – (link divorce and settling the finances, Cohab disputes and children pages). 

You may find it useful to contact Rainbow Families, an informal social and support group for LGBTQ+ parents and their children.

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Get in touch with our team today for a confidential and personal consultation.