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Living together, marriage and civil partnership

Settling down with your partner is an exciting step, but it is important to make sure you understand your relationship’s legal status.

These pages explain the legal differences between living together, getting married and entering a civil partnership. You can also find out how to get married or register your civil partnership.

Getting married

Information on who can get married, where marriages can take place, civil and religious services, marriages by proxy, bigamous marriages, polygamous marriages, forced marriages and second marriages.

Living together and marriage: legal differences

Differences between how the law treats married and cohabiting couples including financial matters, responsibility for children and housing.

Registering a civil partnership

Information on how to register a civil partnership covering who can register, the cost of registering and special rules for sick and disabled people and people from abroad.

Living together and civil partnership - legal differences

Information for same-sex couples on how the law treats civil partnerships and cohabiting couples, including financial matters, adoption, housing and inheritance.