The Civil Partnership Act 2005 created the institution of civil partnership. A civil partnership is effectively a civil marriage for same sex couples. Civil partners now have the same rights and responsibilities as those who enter into a civil marriage.
What rights and responsibilities would civil partners have?
Same-sex couples who register as civil partners of each other would access a wide range of both rights and responsibilities.
These include serious duties and obligations as well as legal rights and protections. For example:
- Duty to provide reasonable maintenance for civil partners and children of the family
- Assessment, in the same way as spouses, for child support
- Employment and Pension benefits
- Recognition under intestacy rules
- Access to fatal accidents compensation
- Protection from Domestic Violence
- Recognition for immigration and nationality purposes
- Treatment in the same way as spouses for all tax purposes
How do I dissolve a civil partnership?
A civil partnership can be terminated by either party issuing an application to court for dissolution, or legal separation. The procedure for applying to the court for judicial separation is very similar to that for a married couple.
The procedure for applying for the dissolution of a civil partnership is very similar to an application for Divorce.
Neither party can make an application for dissolution within the first year of the civil partnership.
The person who starts the dissolution proceedings is called ‘the Applicant’ and the other party is called ‘the Respondent’.
There is only one ground for the dissolution of a civil partnership and that is that the partnership has broken down irretrievably.
To satisfy the court that the partnership has broken down irretrievably, the Applicant must prove one of the following four facts:
- that the Respondent has behaved in such a way that the Applicant can no longer be expected to live with the Respondent
- that the Respondent has deserted the Applicant for a continuous period of at least two years immediately before the start of dissolution proceedings
- that the parties to the partnership have lived apart for a continuous period of at least two years immediately before the start of the dissolution proceedings and the Respondent consents to a decree being granted on that basis
- that the parties to the partnership have lived apart for a period of at least five years immediately before the start of the dissolution proceedings
Financial Claims on Dissolution:
On dissolving the partnership, civil partners can apply for ancillary relief in the same way as divorcing couples. Please see Financial Settlements on Divorce page.
Civil Partnerships, Tax and Death
Civil partners will now be treated as spouses for tax purposes, and will be entitled to all the reliefs associated with being married. Civil Partners will also be treated as a spouse and next of kin on the death of the other partner.
To arrange a discussion at your convenience with a family law solicitor please do not hesitate to contact us.