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Civil Partnerships and Same Sex Marriage Solicitors in Shrewsbury, Hereford, Telford & North Wales


There are a number of legal differences between civil partnerships and same sex marriages but the family lawyers at Lanyon Bowdler are able to provide specialist advice on both.

From financial planning to parental responsibility for stepchildren, if you need information or help on any legal aspect of your relationship, contact us today for expert advice.

About Civil Partnerships and Same Sex Marriage

Civil partnerships have been available for same sex couples in the UK since 2005, to provide similar legal rights and protections as marriage on matters including:

  • Next of kin
  • Parental responsibility
  • Tax
  • Employment and other benefits
  • Household income assessment

There are, however, key differences with regard to matters such as pensions and marital status abroad, which are addressed through same sex marriage. This was introduced in the UK through the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 and affords the exact same legal rights as heterosexual marriage. It also allows couples to convert their civil partnership to a marriage if they wish, so they can benefit from the added legal protections and security.

For example:

  • Pension entitlement

If one married partner dies, their spouse is entitled to a share of their pension based on the number of years it was paid into. In a civil partnership, however, the surviving partner is only entitled to a share of any payments made since 2004 (or 1988 for a public sector pension).

  • Legal status

In legal terms, for a couple to be classed as ‘married’, they must have entered into a same sex marriage rather than a civil partnership. This is particularly significant in foreign countries where the legal status of civil partnerships is not accepted but where same sex marriages are recognised in ever increasing numbers.

How we can help

At Lanyon Bowdler, we can advise you on all areas of civil partnership and same sex marriage to help you and your partner make the right decision for your future together, and for your long-term interests.

If you and your partner have decided to formalise your relationship, we can advise on the benefits of each option, your legal rights, matters relating to any children, and how to protect you and your partner financially in the future. We are able to help you draft a pre-nuptial or pre-partnership agreement to provide clarity on ownership of your assets, business interests and other possessions such as family heirlooms, to provide you with security and peace of mind.

We can also provide legal advice and support for anyone who has decided to end their relationship and regularly assist clients with:

  • Civil partnership dissolution
  • Divorce for same sex couples

Civil Partnership Dissolution

If you wish to end your civil partnership, you will need to obtain permission from the court to have it legally dissolved. You will need to provide evidence that the relationship has broken down irretrievably because of one of the following reasons:

  • You have been deserted by your partner for at least two years.
  • You have been separated from your partner for at least two years and you both agree to dissolve your partnership.
  • You have been separated from your partner for at least five years, if you don’t have their agreement to dissolve your partnership.
  • Unreasonable behaviour (including adultery).

You will then be granted one of two possible court orders:

A Separation Order

If your partnership has lasted for less than 12 months, the court will grant you a Separation Order as the first step towards your final dissolution. Your civil partnership will not be finally and legally dissolved at this stage, so you will be unable to enter into another civil partnership until you have been granted a Dissolution Order.

A Dissolution Order

A Dissolution Order can only be granted once a civil partnership has been in place for more than 12 months. It can follow a Separation Order or be given in its own right if the civil partnership has lasted for more than a year.

If you are seeking a civil partnership dissolution, we can help you with your financial and child care arrangements including:

  • Distribution of assets
  • Financial settlements
  • Child residency and contact arrangements  

We are able to advise on property transfers, lump sum payments and ongoing maintenance to ensure that your financial package provides you with everything you need for the future.

Divorce for same sex couples

If a marriage has irretrievably broken down, the divorce process is the same for both same sex and heterosexual couples, and is covered by the same legislation.

The only point to note is where adultery in being cited as the cause of the marriage breakdown. The law currently states that adultery only includes ‘sexual intercourse with someone of the opposite sex outside marriage’. However where there has been a sexual relationship with someone of the same sex outside marriage, this can be cited under ‘unreasonable behaviour’.

Accepted grounds for divorce are:

  • Adultery (with the opposite sex)
  • Unreasonable behaviour (including sexual relationships with the same sex)
  • Desertion
  • If you and your partner both wish to divorce and have lived apart for two years
  • If your partner doesn’t agree to the divorce but you have lived apart for five years

Further information can be found on our Divorce page. 

For same sex relationship breakdown involving children born from surrogacy or where one parent (or more) is not the biological parent, please see our page about alternative family structures

For more advice on any aspect of your divorce or civil partnership dissolution, contact the family law specialists at Lanyon Bowdler today.

Our expertise

Our family law team is made up of industry leaders, who are experts in their field. Amongst our lawyers, we have accredited members of Resolution, the national organisation of family lawyers, and many of our team also sit on the Law Society Panel.

In addition we are endorsed by The Legal 500, a national guide of recommended law firms, their 2022 edition has us ranked in Band 2 for the West Midlands. We are also graded in Band 1 for Shrewsbury and the surrounding areas in the 2022 edition of the Chambers UK listings.

We pride ourselves on our expertise and professionalism but we are more than just a law firm. We really do care about our clients and have a reputation amongst the communities we serve for providing exceptional legal advice and outstanding customer service. We will provide you with a fully bespoke service that reflects your specific circumstances and aims, and are thoroughly committed to achieving the very best results on your behalf.  

Armed Forces Covenant

Lanyon Bowdler is proud to have signed the Armed Forces Covenant, in recognition of the remarkable work carried out by our military personnel. Together, with local councils and a number of other organisations including Help for Heroes, Royal British Legion, Veterans UK, local military regiments and West Mercia Police, we are working hard to make sure our armed forces have access to any vital services they may need.

Our role in the partnership is to provide the very best specialist, legal advice to any veterans and serving personnel across Shropshire and Herefordshire who may need it, and we attend the community hub in Shrewsbury town centre each month, so that our service is easily accessible to all.

We understand the unique issues that many veterans and members of the armed forces can face, and hope to make a difference as part of this local Operations Group. It is our way of saying a heartfelt thank you for everything they do to protect us all and keep us safe.  

How much are the legal fees?

It goes without saying that everyone should be able to access excellent legal representation and we work hard to ensure that our service is available to everyone, regardless of financial situation. We offer a choice of payment plans from pay as you go and fixed fees to the traditional hourly charging arrangements so that budget isn’t a barrier to the help and support you need. We represent the best in terms of lawyers, value and customer service and are happy to discuss the different plans available to you so that you are able to make an informed decision and know what to expect. We are always completely upfront about all of the legal costs involved so for more detailed information please don’t hesitate to call us so we can help you to explore your options.

Contact Lanyon Bowdler’s Family Law Solicitors

As one of the leading full-service law firms in the region, we have offices in Shrewsbury, Bromyard, Conwy, Hereford, Ludlow, Oswestry and Telford and represent clients both locally and nationally.

Our Family Law Solicitors act on behalf of clients across Shropshire, Herefordshire, Mid and North Wales and throughout the Midlands, including Birmingham and Wolverhampton, but our reputation as one of the country’s leading family law firms means that we also successfully represent clients nationally.

By instructing Lanyon Bowdler you can be certain that you will receive honest, helpful and reliable advice from the experts you can trust. For further advice on any aspect of your same sex marriage or civil partnership contact us today by phone or by completing the online enquiry form. When it comes to planning for the future, you don’t want to wait. One of our helpful solicitors will be ready to deal with your enquiry and will be on hand to discuss how we can help you further.



Fantastic law firm - used Lanyon Bowdler for conveyancing & for legal advice - both solicitors I worked with were effective & professional. Law firm were fast & responsive to queries & clear pricing. Would recommend.   

- Samantha, Via Review Solicitors

Impressed by the efficiency and how they took control of our case. We don't have much of an understanding regarding solicitors and the legal system, but we were led through the whole process very well. We always felt we were in good hands.

- Mrs R Lutwyche, Shrewsbury

I was impressed with the efficiency and welcome of staff. Excellent office layout and service.  

- Mrs S James & Mr W Parkinson, Telford

A warm welcome from the receptionist. Extremely impressed by all that have helped us, peace of mind for our future.

- Mr M Court & Mrs A May, Shrewsbury

Always very efficient in dealing with the workload and advice given in divorce. Would highly recommend the service I received. 

- Mrs Suzanne Purvin

Knowledge and information given was accurate and realistic.

- Mrs Eleanor Margaret Howells, Hereford

Very efficient, pleasant and fully explained. I am well satisfied.

- Mr Stephen Turner, Oswestry

Friendly atmosphere and very professional attitude. 

- Mr Sidney Jolliffe, Oswestry

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