To discuss, in strict confidence, any aspect of Divorce, Dissolution of Civil Partnership, Cohabitation and Family Law, please contact Partner, Sarah Jackson, on 01225 462871. Alternatively, you can email her at email@example.com.
What is a Civil Partnership?
In 2004 the Civil Partnership Act was passed and came into effect in December 2005. It created civil partnerships, which gave same-sex couples who entered into them the same rights and responsibilities of marriage.
These partnerships were called ‘gay marriage’ by some of the British media; however, the government made clear that they were not marriages. The legislation to allow same-sex marriage in England and Wales was passed in July 2013 and came into force on 13 March 2014, and the first same-sex marriages took place on 29 March 2014.
Since Section 9 of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 came into force on 10 December 2014, anyone who is registered in a civil partnership is granted the ability to convert that partnership into a marriage.
“Sarah Jackson was understanding, compassionate, knowledgeable and guided me to reach the conclusion I sought with all the help and support I needed.” SC, Client
Our specialist family solicitors can advise on the following:
- Civil Partnership Dissolution
- Same Sex Divorce
- Cohabitation Agreements
- Pre- and Post- Civil Partnership Agreements
- Pre- and Post- Nuptial Agreements
Civil Partnership Dissolution
Unfortunately, some Civil Partnerships will fall apart. The Partnership will have to be formally dissolved through the Courts; this is legally referred to as “civil partnership dissolution” and not “divorce”. Civil Partnership dissolution cannot be undertaken within the first year of that Civil Partnership. A question we are frequently asked is, is a civil partnership dissolution the same as a divorce?
The process for applying for a civil partnership is the same as for a divorce – you can apply via the government website or by sending a D8 application form to the appropriate divorce and dissolution centre. The court fee in both instances is £593.
Separating civil partners have the same financial legal remedies as divorcing couples. If you’re in a civil partnership you have rights to claim maintenance, lump sum payments, property transfer and pension sharing/attachment orders.
After the dissolution of your civil partnership, you can acquire parental responsibility for your civil partner’s child by agreement or Court order thereby conferring all the rights and responsibilities that divorcing parents retain in relation to children. It is possible for separating civil partners to apply for contact and residence orders (now known as Child Arrangements Orders) also.
In general, civil partners are treated as married people for the purpose of entitlement to welfare benefits.
Any will is automatically revoked on registration of a civil partnership. If no will has been made civil partners automatically inherit under the intestacy rules. If a will or the intestacy rules do not make reasonable financial provision, then a civil partner can bring a claim against the deceased’s estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. Anything left to a Civil Partner either by will or passing by intestacy are exempt from Inheritance Tax.
“My solicitor conducted business in a professional and tactful manner. I would have no hesitation in using her services again.” SH, Client
The procedure for obtaining a same-sex Divorce and the rights of the divorcing parties are exactly the same as with an opposite sex Divorce.
Further information on Divorce and Separation can be found here.
Cohabitation Agreements and Declarations of Trust
If your relationship has not broken down but you wish to reduce the risk of a dispute in the future, we strongly recommend that you enter into a Cohabitation Agreement, which is similar to a pre-nuptial agreement, and sets out your intentions in the event of separation. If you intend to purchase a property together, it is also important to consider entering into a Declaration of Trust to specify and safeguard yours and your partner’s interests.
Pre- and Post-Civil Partnership Agreements
A Pre-Civil Partnership Agreement is an agreement signed before you enter into a Civil Partnership and a Post-Civil Partnership Agreement is signed during the Civil Partnership.
A Pre- or Post-Civil Partnership Agreement will set out what you and your civil partner agree should happen to your finances if, sadly, the relationship breaks down and you become separated.
Pre-Civil Partnership Agreements can be useful when one or both partners would like to retain assets they acquired prior to the civil partnership, should the civil partnership dissolve.
Whilst Pre- and Post-Civil Partnership Agreements are still not binding under English Law, the courts are increasingly taking them into account during the Dissolution of civil partnerships, where certain criteria and safeguards have been met.
“Sarah Jackson was extremely professional, proactive and thorough, whilst being friendly and approachable. She communicated well, kept me up to date and explained the processes throughout. She provided an excellent service and made everything as straightforward as possible for me.” SS, Client