Civil Partnerships

Civil Partnerships

Civil PartnershipsCivil partnerships are formal legal relationships that can be entered into by both same-sex and heterosexual couples. Civil partnerships offer rights and responsibilities similar to those of a marriage. Our specialist family law solicitors are here to support you at every stage of your civil partnership, from protecting your interests before your civil partnership, to the process involved in ending your union. Their advice is clear and straightforward but delivered with a personal touch and the empathy and sensitivity often required when dealing with relationship matters.

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What Are Civil Partnerships?

Civil partnerships are legally recognised formal unions between two people who must be unrelated and aged 18 or over. The law governing civil partnerships derives primarily from the Civil Partnership Act 2004 and the Civil Partnership (Opposite Sex Couples) Regulations 2019.

Both same-sex and opposite-sex couples can enter into civil partnerships, giving you the freedom to choose the union that best suits you and your partner and aligns with your values.

How Do Civil Partnerships Differ From Marriage?

Civil partnerships and marriages give those who enter into them various rights and responsibilities, which are the same in all material aspects. However, there are some technical differences between civil partnerships and marriage, examples of which are as follows:

• How They Are Formed

When you get married, you are required to recite prescribed wording during the wedding ceremony. You probably know this wording as ‘wedding vows’. Civil partners do not need to say anything specific during the ceremony; their union is formalised by signing a civil partnership document.

• The Ceremony

You can choose whether to have a religious or civil marriage ceremony, whereas all civil partnership ceremonies are exclusively civil.

What rights do civil partners enjoy?

Civil partners enjoy the same rights as married couples, including the following

• The Right To Live In The Matrimonial Home

Civil partners have rights over the home they share, known as ‘Matrimonial Home Rights’, even when it is registered in just one of their names. This means that if your civil partnership breaks down, both partners can continue living in the matrimonial home until their dissolution is finalised. You should register your ‘home rights’ at the land registry to ensure you are protected.

• Parental Responsibility

Same-sex civil partners share parental responsibility for their child if they were civil partners at the time of the fertility treatment.

Women automatically have parental responsibility for the child they give birth to, and fathers in a civil partnership with her share parental responsibility with her.

You can apply for parental responsibility if you do not automatically have it.

• The Right To A Share Of Your Civil Partner’s Assets If They Die

If your civil partner sadly dies, how their estate will be distributed depends on whether or not they left a Will. If they did, their estate will be distributed according to their wishes as detailed in the Will. If they did not, their estate will be distributed in accordance with the intestacy rules.

Under the intestacy rules, the estate of a person who did not have children will pass to their civil partner. If there are surviving children, the deceased’s civil partner will receive their personal belongings and the first £270,000 of their estate. If the estate’s value exceeds £270,000, the civil partner will receive half of everything over £270,000, and the remainder will be divided between the deceased’s children.

• Taxation Benefits

Civil partners enjoy specific tax breaks, which include the following:

• Marriage Allowance

The civil partner with the lower income can gift 10% of their personal tax allowance to their partner, thereby reducing the amount of tax their partner has to pay.

• Capital Gains And Inheritance Tax Benefits

Civil partners can freely pass assets between themselves without worrying about the capital gains tax implications. Furthermore, if your civil partner dies, anything you inherit will be exempt from inheritance tax.

How Are Civil Partnerships Ended?

The process of ending a civil partnership is known as ‘dissolution’. When the process concludes, your civil partnership will be ‘dissolved’.

You can only apply for a dissolution once you have been in a civil partnership for at least one year. To obtain a dissolution you need not apportion blame, but you must confirm that your relationship has irretrievably broken down.

The dissolution process involves several steps, including filing a dissolution application and resolving the issues arising from the end of your relationship, such as how your assets should be divided and where your children should live. If the issues are straightforward and easily resolved, your dissolution could be finalised in around six to nine months. However, the process can take longer if the issues are complex and the split is acrimonious.

How Can We Help?

Civil partnerships can give rise to numerous legal issues both before, during, and after you enter into one. Our family law solicitors have significant expertise in all aspects of civil partnerships law, including pre-civil partnership agreements, child arrangements, and civil partnerships dissolution. Their firm policy is to deal with matters as quickly and cost-effectively as possible, providing you with the support you need to move forward and focus on the future.

Please call us now on 01603 672222 for a no-obligation conversation today or Click Here To Make An Online Enquiry.

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