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Civil Partnership Law

We advise couples, individuals and others on the legal issues connected with same-sex relationships including; cohabitation, civil partnership rights, agreements, and the dissolution of civil partnerships.

What is a Civil Partnership?

A civil partnership refers to a legal relationship registered by two unrelated people. Both same-sex and opposite-sex couples can apply for a civil partnership. By registering a civil partnership, the couple’s relationship gains legal recognition, legal civil partnership rights, and responsibilities.

If, after a year, a couple decides to end a civil partnership, they must apply to the court to legally bring it to an end. We recommend consulting our civil partnership dissolution solicitors for expert advice at that stage.

What are Civil Partnership Rights?

According to civil partnership laws, following the Civil Partnership Act in 2004, same-sex couples have the opportunity to register their relationship as a Civil Partnership. This act allows same-sex couples, aged 16 or over, to have the same rights and responsibilities in principle as a couple in a civil marriage, including:

  1. Property

Just like married couples, the right to property in civil partnerships is protected as home rights. For owned properties, this means that the civil partner has the right to occupy the matrimonial home and act as an owner without having the legal title. They also have the right to remain there if the relationship breaks down unless a court orders them to leave.

For rented properties, the right to property in civil partnerships allows both partners to occupy the home regardless of whose name is on the tenancy agreement. If you are not named on the tenancy agreement, and your civil partner passes, you may be able to remain in the property but should seek legal advice.

  1. Children

When in a civil partnership, couples have the right to obtain parental responsibility for a partner’s children. In the event of a dissolution, a civil partner may be required to provide reasonable maintenance for their partner and the partner’s children.

  1. Next of kin

Next of kin rights, particularly in hospitals, mean that your civil partner will be kept informed of any updates or information if you are taken into hospital. They can also assist with decision-making (although they do not have the rights or responsibilities of someone with power of attorney).

  1. Financial rights

Civil partners can claim exemption on areas such as inheritance tax, pension benefits and social security. They also receive full life insurance recognition.

Civil partners also enjoy other rights traditionally afforded to married couples.


Civil Partnership Dissolution

There is now a formal process for civil partnership dissolution in place that is similar to divorce proceedings. Our civil partnership dissolution solicitors are here to help you navigate the process of dissolving your civil partnership and reaching an agreement regarding the legal aspects of ending a relationship.

Civil partnership dissolution is the legal process that will bring an end to a civil partnership. It is the equivalent of divorce for married couples. Only after dissolution can a person engage in another civil partnership if they so wish. A person must have been in a civil partnership for at least a year to apply for dissolution.

We advise couples, individuals and others on the legal issues connected with same-sex partnerships. We also offer advice on same-sex marriage and civil partnership rights, both having the same rights as married couples. If the relationship breaks down, the same considerations regarding financial settlement and issues surrounding children apply.

For further information or to arrange an appointment regarding civil partnership matters, please contact our civil partnership solicitors.

Our family law team is here to help.

Please call us to find out how we can help. We have offices throughout Yorkshire and the North East. We can talk on the phone or arrange a meeting where we can discuss your options and give you a clear idea of timeframes and costs.

Alternatively, please contact us online and we’ll call you back when it’s convenient for you.