Civil Partnership

Under the Civil Partnership Act 2004, which came into force on 5 December 2005, a new legal status was created for same-sex couples. Couples who sign a civil partnership registration, commit themselves to a range of rights and responsibilities similar to those of a married couple.

Legal Consequences

Couples looking to register their partnership, should be aware of the binding commitment they are entering into. Rights acquired by civil partners include:

  • Protection from domestic violence
  • Ability to gain parental responsibility for each other’s children
  • Employment and Pension benefits
  • Rights on Intestacy
  • Inheritance tax exemptions

The most fundamental right acquired is that if the relationship breaks down, the Court will have wide powers to make financial Orders between you and your civil partner.

Breakdown of Relationship

A civil partnership is a serious commitment and like marriage can only be brought to an end by Court Order or the death of one of the partners.

You may apply to the Court for dissolution of a civil partnership, but like marriage, a Petition can not be filed until after the first anniversary of the civil ceremony and only where the relationship has irretrievably broken down.

To succeed, you will have to prove that your marriage has broken down for one of the following reasons:

  • Unreasonable Behaviour (that your civil partner has behaved in such a way that you can’t be expected to live together)
  • That your civil partner has deserted you for at least 2 years
  • That you have been living apart for 2 years and your partner consents to the dissolution
  • That you have lived apart for 5 years

Our family law specialists will advise you with legal expertise, both before and after your civil partnership.

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