Following from the news in June that the Civil Partnership Act 2004 was deemed by the Supreme Court to be incompatible with human rights law, Teresa May has now announced last week that all couples in England and Wales will be able to choose to enter into a civil partnership rather than marriage.


So what will this mean for couples and the law?


What is a Civil Partnership?


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.


Who is Eligible to Form a Civil Partnership?


You can form a civil partnership in the UK if you are:

  • 16 or over (you need permission from your parents or guardians if you’re under 18 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland;
  • single, divorced or widowed;
  • not closely related

Where can you have a civil partnership ceremony?

  • A register office
  • any venue approved by the local council
  • a religious premises where permission has been given by the organisation and the premises approved by the local authority

Why do mixed-sex couples want to have the right to a civil partnership?


Some feel that marriage promotes more “traditional” gender roles, where men and women are not seen on an equal footing. Instead there is the view that entering into a civil partnership provides a message of unity, with men and women being viewed as equal partners.

What Rights and Benefits Does a Civil Partnership Provide?


Many people believe that certain rights can be obtained by being “common law” man and wife. This is in fact a myth, and cohabiting couples are often left unprotected when it comes to inheritance and tax provisions.


Entering into a civil partnership infers the same rights and protections as those who are married, and therefore this move is seen to be a much fairer way forward for modern families who do not conform to the “traditional” family role.


How Can Lamb Brooks Help You?


At Lamb Brooks our specialist family experts can provide you with advice in respect of how to protect your assets if you are entering into a civil partnership and also assist should your civil partnership unfortunately break down.


For further advice please contact Laura Bell, Associate Solicitor on 01256 305507 or email laura.bell@lambbrooks.com


The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice.  The law may have changed since this article was published.   Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.