What is a civil partnership and can I get one?

A civil partnership is a formal legal relationship between two people. To become civil partners, the couple must give notice of their intentions to do so, and sign a register of their intentions in the presence of witnesses. Once registered, a civil partnership certificate is evidence of the civil partnership.

A person who is a civil partner may not enter into a civil partnership or marriage with any other person.

The law on civil partnerships changed on 2nd December 2019 allowing both same sex and mixed sex couples can become civil partners.

What is the difference between a Civil Partnership and a Marriage?

The ceremony for a civil partnership does not involve giving of vows nor does it have any religious connotations. This is the main reason why people many people prefer the idea of being civil partners and not spouses, as well as the historical patriarchal roots of marriage.

Civil partners are not married and cannot refer to themselves as husbands or wives. Unlike in divorce, the partnership cannot be dissolved because of adultery.

Both parents are named on the civil partnership certificate unlike in a marriage where only the father is named.

Why have a civil partnership?

Having a legally recognised relationship does have several advantages over an informal co-habitation relationship.

  1. The civil partner has a legal right to live in the other party’s family home.
  2. There are tax benefits as the married allowance also applies to civil partners. Also Capital Gains Tax does not apply to gifts between civil partners
  3. Children born or adopted within a civil partnership are children of the family and both civil partners automatically share parental responsibility for the child.
  4. A civil partner will have inheritance rights against the estate of their civil partner and Inheritance Tax usually does not apply to that inheritance.
  5. Should the relationship break down, the civil partner will have financial claims against the other party similar to claims that can be made in divorce proceedings.
  6. Civil partners are entitled to the same state and pension rights as married couples.

If you are considering entering into a civil partnership, you may want to consider protecting your assets. Alexander JLO can give advice on pre-partnership agreements or represent you on any breakdown of the partnership.

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