Yesterday, the Prime Minster announced that heterosexual couples will now be allowed to enter into Civil Partnerships instead of getting married. The change will now mean that for the first time ever both same sex partners and mixed sex partners will be entitled to marry or enter into a Civil Partnership and will have the same rights to formalise their relationships.
Up until 2004 same sex couples had little rights in order to formalise their relationships. Civil Partnerships were therefore created in 2004 to give same sex couples similar legal and financial protection to a married couple. Marriage at that time was not available for same sex couples.
The Marriage Act 2013
In 2013 the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 legalised same sex marriage in England and Wales. Therefore same sex couples could make a decision as to whether they wish to enter into a Civil Partnership or whether they wish to marry. The same rights were not afforded to mixed sex couples.
The announcement yesterday addressed the imbalance and will now allow same sex couples and mixed sex couples to choose how they wish to formalise their relationship. Whilst the legislation has not yet been agreed, it is clear that there is an intention for there to be a change in the Law.
At Emery Johnson Astills we believe that the intention of this legislation will be to give all civil partners the same financial legal rights on the breakdown of their relationship so as to avoid discrimination. The rights of civil partners are currently limited eg claims against pensions are not possible. It will be interesting to see how far the new legislation will go to address this imbalance.
Marriage is now on the decline and there are various reasons why people do not wish to marry but want to formalise their relationship.
In the UK alone there are approximately 3.3 million cohabiting couples; they believe that they possess similar rights and protections to those who are married but this is not the case. We at Emery Johnson Astills can advise you on your rights as a cohabiting couple and also the rights if you marry or enter into a Civil Partnership.
Whilst the protection for marriage and civil partnerships is almost identical, there are some differences which will need to be considered within the legislation. The family solicitors at Emery Johnson Astills are able to advise you about your rights.
Should you require any further information in respect of Civil Partnerships and the rights available to you please do not hesitate to contact one of the Family Team at firstname.lastname@example.org, who would only be happy to have a fixed fee appointment with you.