The Civil Partnerships Act 2004
The Civil Partnerships Act 2004 came into force on 5 December 2005, creating a new legal status only available to same sex couples.
Couples who sign a civil partnership registration document commit themselves to a range of rights and responsibilities, essentially the same as those associated with marriage. Civil partnership is not precisely the same as gay marriage but the rules and legal principles concerning the creation and the dissolution of civil partnerships are based on, and for most part, the same as those relating to marriage.
Q. If I enter into a civil partnership what rights do I obtain?
- Employment and pension benefits
- Exemption from capital gains tax on the transfer of assets between partners
- Equal equitable treatment for the purpose of life assurance
- Protection from domestic violence
- Ability to change name using certificates of civil partnership
- Access to fatal accident compensation
- Ability to gain parental responsibility for each other’s children
- Inheritance Tax exemptions and rights to make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975
- Tenancy succession rights
- Rights on intestacy.
Q. What responsibilities do I acquire if I enter into a civil partnership?
The responsibilities are very similar to that of a married couple.
A duty to provide reasonable financial support for your civil partner and any children of the family on the dissolution of your civil partnership the responsibility of property division, and if this cannot be resolved of your civil partner then either party can make an application to the Court.
Q. How can I enter into a civil partnership?
If you want to enter into a civil partnership you must be the same sex as your potential partner and you both must be of 18 or over 16 if you have the consent of your parents. In the same way as you can’t have more than one husband or wife at the same time you cannot enter into more than one civil partnership.
Q. What if I don’t want to be in my civil partnership anymore?
To enter into a civil partnership is a serious commitment and in the same way as marriage, can only be brought to an end by order of the Court or death of either of you. The first thing to note that is in the same way as marriage you have to be in the civil partnership for a year before either party can apply to dissolve the partnership. The only possible ground for dissolution of the partnership is that the partnership has broken down irretrievably. You then have to satisfy the Court that this is a result of either the behaviour of the other civil partner, the fact that you have been separated for two years and the other partner consents to this, or that you have been separated for five years. The final fact is desertion for two years. Like Divorce you cannot sight adultery as a fact of the breakdown although you can say that your partner’s sexual relationship with another person is unreasonable behaviour.
Q. Can the Courts be involved if myself and my partner cannot sort out financial issues?
Yes they can be in the same way as marriage either of you can make an application to the Court for the Court to resolve your financial issues. It is important that you seek legal advice so that you know your rights. Even if you and your partner can resolve financial issues it is still important that you have a Court Order reflecting the agreement that is made between the two of you.