Civil Partnerships

Background to Civil Partnerships

The Civil Partnership Act 2004 came into operation on the 5 December 2005. The Act increases the rights of same-sex partners and removes discrimination against them. Same-sex partners can now obtain legal recognition of their relationship by registering as civil partners.

On the 15th March 2019 the Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc) Bill completed its passage through the Houses of Parliament. The Bill received Royal Assent on 26th March 2019 and came into force on 26th May 2019.

From the 2nd December 2019, mixed-sex couples have been able to give notice (28 days) for a civil partnership in England and Wales.  In exceptional circumstances the 28 day period can be waived.

From New Year’s Eve 2019, mixed-sex couples have been able to register their partnership officially.

How rhw can help 

A civil partnership must have been in existence for at least a year before an application to the court can be made to end it. This is known as dissolving a civil partnership. In the same way that you are not allowed to marry again until your previous marriage has finally been dissolved by the divorce process, you are not free to enter into another civil partnership until the dissolution process has been completed.

You and your partner will need to make an application stating that the relationship has irretrievably broken down to dissolve the civil partnership. The dissolution cannot be contested by one side.

Timescale for dissolution

In the same way that divorces can vary depending on individual situations, if there are no complications, the civil partnership dissolution process takes four to six months, or thereabouts.

Financial Issues and Civil Partnerships

Financial matters and civil partnerships

It is important to note that when your civil partnership is dissolved, the final order will not resolve any financial commitments you have within the civil partnership. To resolve your financial matters you will need to make a financial application to the court and sever any financial ties you have to your ex-partner. This can be straightforward if you both agree on how to divide your finances. You will be able to apply for a financial order. However is disagreements exist, you can speak to rhw’s team to negotiate a financial agreement for on your behalf. This is called a contested financial order.

Related Legislative Developments 

Other legislation and regulations have been amended to reflect the change in the law affording same sex civil partners virtually the same rights as married couples. This means provision is now made in law to deal with relationship breakdown as well as other areas such finances, children and domestic violence.

This is an area of family law that is undergoing rapid and, at times, dramatic changes in terms of how the law is developing and where case law brings about changes to existing statutes. At rhw we watch developments at a national and micro level closely and adjust our legal approach accordingly.

Contact us

Need some advice or guidance? Call rhw on 01483 302000 or e-mail family@rhw.co.uk

Meet the Family Law Team

Michelle Davies

Michelle Davies

Legal Secretary
Richard Middlehurst

Richard Middlehurst

Associate Solicitor
Lauren Moir

Lauren Moir

Solicitor
Serena Sandhu

Serena Sandhu

Associate Solicitor
Hannah Gibbons

Hannah Gibbons

Trainee Solicitor

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