Legal help with entering into a civil partnership

If you are in a civil partnership, or about to enter into one, you should know your rights when it comes to things like inheritance and children.

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In 2018, there were 956 civil partnerships formed in England and Wales in 2018 according to the Office for National Statistics. Civil partnerships give you many of the same rights as being married. But do you know where you stand when it comes to the personal, financial and legal side of things?

First4Lawyers can help you make sure everything runs smoothly when it comes to the legalities.

What are civil partnerships?

A civil partnership is a legal union currently only available to same-sex couples - however, the Prime Minister announced that they will be made available to mixed-sex couples too.

In many ways, the law treats civil partners the same as married couples - you have the same property rights, social security and pension benefits, as well as the same inheritance tax exemptions as married couples of any gender.

You can also obtain parental responsibility for a partner's children. In such cases, you may also receive related insurance, tenancy and next-of-kin rights.

What are the legal differences between civil partnerships and marriage? 

In some key ways, the law is arguably stricter in the case of civil partnerships than it is in marriage.

Civil partners cannot legally call themselves 'married'. The occasion can only be a civil event, not a religious ceremony, and a civil partnership can only be ended by a dissolution order, rather than a divorce.

While marriage is recognised as legally binding in most countries, not all countries recognise civil partnerships -  so when it comes to travelling or emigrating, problems could arise.

We've put together a guide containing more information on the differences between marriage and civil partnerships.

Who can register a civil partnership? 

Two people of the same sex can register a civil partnership as long as they fit the following criteria:

  • They are over the age of 16 (if either of them is under 18, they must have the consent of a parent or legal guardian).
  • They are not already legally married or in a civil partnership.
  • They are not closely related.

How can I protect my interests before I enter into a civil partnership?

To protect your financial and property interests and those of your partner, it is advisable to enter into a pre-civil partnership agreement. This is much the same as a pre-nuptial agreement.

Such arrangements previously held no basis in English law, yet ever since the UK Supreme Court ruled in favour of a pre-nuptial agreement in 2010, the courts may uphold such contracts as long as they adhere to strict guidelines.

You can speak to the experts in family law available via First4Lawyers for guidance and information around drawing up a legally-binding pre-civil partnership. Our skill and expertise can give you peace of mind before entering into an agreement with a partner.


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What legal issues might I face in a civil partnership? 

The legal problems are much the same as you would face if you were married.

They may include the following:

Dissolving a civil partnership will not automatically settle your joint finances, or property issues. As a result, you must deal with these problems separately.

Both partners have a legal responsibility to support each other at the end of the union. For this reason, one partner’s legal claim to the finances of the other party does not end unless they obtain an Order of Court relating to finances.

In terms of property, there are many ways to resolve such issues. The one you choose will depend on your circumstances. To reach agreement, you must consider all of the assets the two of you hold. A resolution might involve the following:

  • Buying out your partner’s share (or vice versa)
  • Selling the property and sharing the equity
  • Offsetting the equity in the property against other assets
  • Reaching an agreement to buy out the partner at a later stage.

Money and Property when a relationship ends ( website)

I'd like legal advice about my civil partnership - what do I do next?

Legal advice when entering into a civil partnership can be invaluable in helping to secure your future.  Get in touch with us for a chat about how we can help you through the process.

Get in touch today to discuss your requirements 08005677866

How to guides

Learn about this area of law and what you need to know:

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