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Civil Partnerships

What is a Civil Partnership?

A Civil Partnership is a legally registered relationship between same sex couples. It provides similar rights to married couples of the opposite sex. These rights relate to areas such as Tax, pensions and children, specifically the right to apply for parental responsibility for a partner’s child.

Civil Partnerships were introduced in the UK in 2005. They are sometimes referred to as ‘Gay marriage’ but this is not accurate as there are some legal differences between a Civil Partnership and a marriage.

You may need the assistance of a solicitor either before entering into a Civil Partnership or when wanting to end one.

Pre-Partnership Agreements for Civil Partnerships

Pre-partnership agreements are similar to pre-nuptial agreements for marrying couples. Before entering into a civil partnership a pre-partnerships agreement enables you and your partner to set out what will happen to your finances and assets if the relationship should break down.

Like prenuptial agreements, pre-partnership agreements are not currently legally binding in England, however, they are likely to be taken into account by the courts if they have been prepared in the correct manner and within the appropriate safeguards.

Dissolution of a Civil Partnership

If a Civil Partnership breaks down irretrievably you need to get permission from the court to legally dissolve the partnership. The court can grant you either a separation order or a dissolution order.

Dissolution orders for Civil Partnerships

Dissolution of a civil partnership is similar to a divorce for a married couple.  Like a divorce, dissolution cannot be made within the first 12 months of the legal partnership.

To apply for dissolution of a Civil Partnership it has to be proven that the relationship has broken down irretrievably and this must be done using one of the following grounds which are similar to the Grounds for Divorce:contact us

The main difference between the grounds for dissolution of a Civil Partnership and the grounds for a divorce is that adultery cannot be stated as the basis for dissolution of a Civil Partnership whereas it can for a marriage. This is because in England the term adultery is a specific legal term relating to heterosexual sex.

Infidelity can be stated as a reason for dissolution of a Civil Partnership as it can be stated as a reason for the separation under the heading of ‘unreasonable behaviour’.

When ending a Civil Partnership, arrangements may have to be made with regard to finances and children. Financial and property settlements can be negotiated in much the same way as with a divorce, these may involve property transfers, lump sum payments or ongoing maintenance. Please contact a solicitor for advice on this.

Agreements for the living arrangements and contact with children can be dealt with at the same time.

Separation orders for Civil Partnerships

If a Civil Partnership has not yet lasted for the 12 months required for a dissolution order, a separation order may be of use. The granting of a separation order means that you are unable to enter into another Civil Partnership until you get a dissolution order.

Contact us for more information about Civil Partnerships.