Although same sex marriage is now legal in Scotland, many gay and lesbian couples have already entered into civil partnerships, and this remains an option for the time being. It is also open to couples to convert their existing civil partnerships to marriages if they so choose. In the event that a same sex relationship breaks down, the rights available are the same whether they opted for a civil partnership or a marriage.
There are two options for converting a civil partnership into a marriage. The first is to have a marriage ceremony in the traditional way, and the second is an administrative process. It is important to bear in mind that couples who choose to go ahead with the conversion will be considered married from the date of the registration of their civil partnership. As the rights enjoyed by civil partners are essentially the same as those enjoyed by spouses, those rights are carried forward into the marriage completely unaffected.
For couples who choose to enter into, or remain in, a civil partnership, the rights that they have in respect of child related issues and matters of finance on dissolution are identical to those of a married couple who are divorcing. A civil partnership can be dissolved in the event of the irretrievable breakdown of a relationship, on essentially the same basis as that upon which married individuals can seek divorce, and the same principals will apply.