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The Basics of Civil Partnerships

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 24 May 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Civil Partnerships Same-sex Marriage

Since 2005 same-sex couples have been able to register as civil partners under the civil partnership act. This gives them a new legal status as 'civil partners' which allows them legal recognition of their relationship and many of the same rights as married couples. Same-sex couples who wish to become civil partners must register and often have a ceremony in the same way as couples who are getting married, although this must be a secular affair.

Differences

The only real differences between a marriage and a civil partnership come down to the process itself. Civil partnerships are only available for same-sex couples and are not allowed to have any religious significance. Also, a marriage is registered when the couple exchange spoken words while a civil partnership is registered after the second partner signs the certificate. Apart from that, in the eyes of the law, a civil partnership is in all essence the same as a marriage and must not be entered into lightly.

Rights

As civil partners the law grants you the same rights as married couples on all practical and financial issues. You will get the same treatment on:

  • tax issues including inheritance tax
  • benefits, tax credits and child support
  • the need to provide maintenance if you split from your civil partner
  • your ability to apply for parental responsibility for your civil partner's child
  • automatic transferral of a a tenancy agreement if one partner dies
  • employment benefits including most occupational and state pensions
  • access to fatal accidents compensation
  • recognition for immigration and nationality purposes

Becoming Civil Partners

In order to become civil partners you must first give notice of your intention for a civil partnership. There is then a 15 day waiting period while your notice is published before you can register your partnership at any registry office or licensed venue. The registration process simply require both partners to sign the certificate in the presence of two witnesses, however most couples have a ceremony as well. Civil partnerships are purely secular and no religious ceremony is allowed to take place.

Dissolving a Civil Partnership

Entering into a civil partnership is as much of a commitment as getting married as it only ends after a court-led dissolution or on the death of one of the partners. Dissolution takes place with an application to the court which much state, in the same way as a divorce, that the partnership has broken down beyond repaired due to:

  • unreasonable behaviour to the point where the applicant cannot reasonably be expected to live with their civil partner
  • a separation for at least two years where both civil partners consent to a dissolution
  • partners having been separated for five years at which point the other civil partner does not have to consent to a dissolution
  • one civil partner deserting the other for at least two years prior to the application

If you are same-sex couple and want to take your relationship to the next level then a civil partnership is something to seriously consider. Same-sex couples campaigned for so long to afford the same rights as married couples and now, since 2005, they have been able to. If you are cohabiting, however long you have been together, then you don't have these rights and your partner will not be able to automatically claim you assets if you die. By registering as civil partners you can secure each other's future and prove your commitment.

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there is a mistake in this website here it is : automatic transferral of a a tenancy agreement if one partner dies
unknown - 20-May-13 @ 2:05 PM
MY DAUGHTER HAS ENTERED INTO A CIVIL PARTNERSHIP. MY SON HAS TOLD ME THAT HIS SISTERS PARTNER IS HIS SISTER IN LAW AND I AM HER FATHER IN LAW. IS THIS TRUE AND IS THERE A DEFINITION OF AN INLAW;WHERE IN THE CIVIL PARTNERSHIP ACT DOES IT EXPLAIN THIS,OR WHERE IS THE CASE LAW THAT HAS IDENTIFIED THAT RELATIVES BECOMEINLAWS,
CURIOUS - 25-May-11 @ 3:57 PM
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