What is a Civil Partnership?

Under the Civil Partnership Act 2005 (CPA) which came into force on 5 December 2005,
registered same-sex couples will have legal recognition and will enjoy many of the same rights as a married couple in civil law.

Although Civil Partnership is an entirely new legal status, it has been constructed as closely to marriage as possible.

As a result, this has effected a wide range of different areas of law, such as immigration, tax and family law.

What are the benefits of making a Civil Partnership?

Once  a Civil Partnership has been registered, the relationship will be automatically treated in the same manner as a traditional marriage and the parties will effectively be treated by law as a ‘spouse’.
Benefits for registering a Civil Partnership include:

  • ‘Home Rights’ for same-sex couples.  These rights are similar to matrimonial home rights enjoyed by a spouse to occupy property occupied by the other spouse.
  • Tax benefits such as exemptions for Inheritance Tax.
  • Legal parental responsibility for the partner’s children.
  • Recognition under the Intestacy Rules.

Under the new legislation, on the dissolution of the Civil Partnership, there will be divorce-like formalities to follow.

For example

  • Expectation of a fair share in any joint property.
  • ‘Appropriate’ contact with any children of the partnership.
  • Any Wills in existence prior to the registration of a Civil Partnership will automatically be revoked.
  • How do I make a Civil Partnership?
  • Civil Partnerships are made by registration.
  • There is a set procedure to follow, beginning with giving the Registrar notice of intention to register the Partnership and the making of a written declaration that there is no lawful reason that the registration should not take place.

To be eligible for registration of a Civil Partnership, the parties must be:

  • Of the same sex
  • Single
  • Outside the prohibited degrees of relationship – eg sibling, parent, grandparent
  • At least 18 or 16 if they have parental / guardian consent.

For more information on Civil Partnerships, please call our Family Law department on 0113 245 0733 or contact us via our Contact Page.

Civil Partnership’s have been around since 5th December 2005.  The Civil Partnership Act of 2005 allowed same sex couples to obtain essentially the same legal effect, same rights and responsibilities as a marriage does for mixed sex couples.  Civil partners were granted equal treatment in a wide range of legal matters including:

  • Taxation including Inheritance Tax
  • Employment benefits
  • Most state and occupational pension schemes
  • Income related benefits
  • A duty to provide reasonable maintenance for your civil partner and any child of the family
  • An ability to apply for Parental Responsibility of the civil partner’s child
  • Recognition under intestacy rules.· Home rights for same sex couples.

These rights are similar to matrimonial home rights enjoyed by a spouse to occupy property occupied by the other spouse.

Married (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013

This Act introduced in December 2013 provided the lawful marriage of same sex couples.  From 29th March 2014 same sex couples in England & Wales can now get married in civil ceremonies.  The Act now provides that marriage of same sex couples is lawful.  The Act was careful to ensure that those religious organisations that wished to do so can opt in to conduct marriage ceremonies for same sex couples, whilst also protecting religious organisations and their representatives from successful legal challenge if they do not wish to marry same sex couples.  The Act enables civil partners to convert their partnership into a marriage if they wish from 10th December 2014 and enables individuals to change their legal gender without having to enter a marriage.  Same sex couples who got married abroad under foreign law and who are consequently treated as civil partners in England & Wales have been recognised under the Act as being married in England & Wales from 13th March 2014.