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Civil Partnerships

Currently legislation enables same sex couples in civil partnerships to “register” their relationship and effectively become married in the eyes of the law.

Once registered, a couple gain the same rights as a married couple in terms of tax, inheritance and “dissolution” (the equivalent of divorce). This provides each person with a potential claim over the assets and income of the other.

Financial claims on the dissolution of a civil partnership will be assessed in much the same way as those made on divorce. When considering the length of the relationship and the extent of the assets, it is likely that periods of cohabitation are likely to be combined with the length of the partnership.

You will need to work out:

  • A plan for looking after any children you have together
  • Child maintenance payments if you have children together
  • How you will divide your property and money (there is a deadline if you want this to be legally binding)

See our page on finances for a more in depth look at how the court determines financial provision.

Same sex marriages

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 enables same sex couples to marry under English and Welsh law. Crucially, it makes provision for existing civil partnerships to be converted to a marriage.

One of the most significant changes is that it makes various amendments to pensions legislation and same sex partners are now entitled to benefits from their partner’s pension, which was previously out of reach.

Pre-civil partnership agreements that protect your finances

This momentous step forward in English law has also led to an increase in pre-registration or prenuptial agreements as couples who may have been together for some time seek to regulate their finances before taking steps to register their relationship or marry. See our pages on prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements for further details.

Rayden Solicitors specialise in civil partnership law in the UK and we can advise you of the legal implications of your relationship when living together or if you are considering registering your relationship, marrying or in the unhappy event that your relationship falters.

Rayden Solicitors is also committed to equality and diversity and in doing so supports and advises all members of our community.

Can civil partners get divorced?

As well as having the same rights as a married couple with regards to tax and inheritance, civil partners also have the right to a dissolution, which is the equivalent of a divorce. Couples who have converted their civil partnerships into marriages are also entitled to file for divorce.

How long does a civil partnership dissolution take?

The whole process generally takes between 4 and 6 months. Once a dissolution has been agreed, the court makes a conditional order of dissolution. It generally takes six weeks from this date for the dissolution to be finalised.

How can you dissolve a civil partnership?

A civil partnership dissolution can be applied for, but you will need to prove that the relationship has broken down and you must have been in the civil partnership for over a year. A legal separation can be applied for within the first year of a civil partnership.

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