Civil partnerships for same sex couples

A civil partnership is a legally recognised relationship between two people that offers many of the same benefits as a marriage, including the same inheritance rights.

In England and Wales, same-sex couples who want to have legal recognition for their relationship can marry or register a civil partnership. Opposite sex couples could not form a civil partnership.  However, in mid-2018 the Supreme Court ruled that such a restriction on civil partnerships breached the human rights of opposite sex couples. For many years it was argued that opposite sex couples could enter into marriage and thus civil partnership was not appropriate for them. However, this situation was no longer tenable following the Supreme Court ruling.

The Civil Partnership (Opposite Sex Couples) Regulations 2019 should allow the first opposite sex civil partnership to take place before 31 December 2019.

The ability of opposite sex couples to enter into a civil partnership may, over time, ensure that the injustices caused to cohabiting couples become a thing of the past. The status of 'common law partner' is not legally recognised. This means that couples who live together without being married (or entering into a civil partnership) have little or no right to financial benefits and the property or money of their partner upon their death.

Whether married or in a civil partnership it is still important for couples to consider their assets and whom they would like to inherit their estate on their death. This can become more complicated if a person has children from a previous relationship.

To discuss this or any other family related matter, contact us.

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