Civil Partnerships

Civil Partnerships were introduced in England and Wales in 2004 as a way for same-sex common-law partners to give their relationship legal recognition, much in the same way as married couples enjoy. (In time, the privilege has been extended also to heterosexual couples).

In terms of the legalities in the day-to-day life of couples, marriage and a civil partnership do not differ much.  Property rights, pension benefits, parental responsibility, recognition of immigration purposes and exemption from inheritance tax are the same.   

However, the parties to a civil partnership can’t call themselves ‘married.’  Furthermore, marriage is ended by divorce whereas civil partnerships are ended by ‘dissolution’.

Financial Settlements on Dissolution

If your civil partnership is at an end, as well as undertaking the formalities of the dissolution process, you will also need to consider a financial settlement. Your rights, whether married or as a civil partner, are no different. Questions on how to split the assets, including the family home, pensions and any savings will no doubt be at the fore-front of your mind.

At Robertsons Family Law, our solicitors have experience in ensuring that the best outcome is obtained for our clients, no matter the circumstances.

Protecting your Assets in a Civil Partnership 

One of the critical issues in a civil partnership (like in most relationships) is money and finances. The parties to the relationship bring their assets together and accumulate assets whilst in the relationship– but what if it doesn’t work out?  

A pre-partnership agreement can save you a lot of bitterness and expense if thought out carefully before entering a civil partnership. These agreements are not yet enforceable, but the courts assign significant weight to such an agreement if it is fair to begin with. 

Robertsons Family Law has solicitors with years of experience helping common-law partners formalise their relationship as they enter into a civil partnership. We know what the pitfalls are and how to put you in the best possible situation regarding your assets and unique circumstances. 

FAQs on Civil Partnerships & Dissolution

What if my relationship does not work out?

Should your civil partnership fail, it must be formally dissolved.  You would have to be in the relationship for at least a year as you can’t have a dissolution earlier.   

The procedure is not complicated but will involve arrangements for financial relief, dividing property, and how contact with children will work. (A civil partner has the same claims as a spouse does in divorce). Usually, the complete dissolution can be finished within six to eight months if all the parties work together, but can be longer if there is a dispute over the finances.

Is it possible to separate without a dissolution?

Yes, you can enter into a Separation Agreement which is not governed by the Court. Then, once this has been agreed, you can apply for the formal dissolution later. Again, Robertsons Family Law can help with a formal Separation Agreement, and we can assist with what conditions you would need to include.

Is My civil partnership Recognised in the uK if it took place abroad?

Most probably. A civil partnership ceremony abroad will be recognised in the UK as long as it is undertaken in a registered venue and recognised in the country that it took place.   

Do i have the same financial rights on dissolution as on divorce?

Yes, the law holds no distinction between a married couple and those in a civil partnerships. The court will look at the same criteria such as age of the parties, length of marriage and the priorities of any children.

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