Since December 2005 same sex couples in permanent relationships have had the opportunity to have their relationship recognised in law.
The Civil Partnership Act 2004 created a new legal relationship of civil partners. This provides couples with parity of treatment in a wide range of legal matters with opposite sex couples who enter into marriage.
The Government intends that registered civil partnership should be long term stable relationships.
Opposite sex couples are not eligible for civil partnership registration as they can obtain the same rights and responsibilities by marriage.
There is a formal court based process for dissolution of a partnership.
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