Civil Partners Rights: Do you have the same rights as Married Couples?

Civil Partners Rights V Married Couples

A civil partnership is legally recognised relationship between two people which can be registered by both opposite-sex couples and same-sex couples. This legal recognition provides couples with similar rights to those that are afforded to married couples.

Civil partnerships are not too dissimilar to marriage, in fact, there are only very marginal differences. Both statuses are entitled to tax benefits, such as inheritance tax allowances and annual personal allowance tax relief. Civil partnerships and marriages can also enjoy joint parental responsibility.

Civil Partners Rights

Both marriages and civil partnerships also have some similarities in the grounds to be used for their dissolution (but not all). To dissolve a civil partnership and a marriage, a petitioner must prove that their relationship has broken down irretrievably. The petitioner must rely on one of the grounds available, which include:

  • Their partner’s unreasonable behaviour and that they cannot be expected to continue living with them.
  • Their partner has intentionally deserted them for a period of 2 years.
  • They have been separated for a period of at least 2 years and that they both consent to the dissolution.
  • The parties have been separated for a period of at least 5 years and that one partner disagrees to the dissolution.
  • Adultery, however, can only be used for divorce and not the dissolution of civil partnerships.

Who can enter into a civil partnership?

Originally, civil partnerships were brought into force in 2004 to allow same-sex couples to enter into a legally recognised relationship giving them the same rights as marriage, as the institution of marriage at this time did not permit same-sex couples to be engaged.

However, a recent development in the law has updated this area.A legal challenge was brought in R (on the application of Steinfeld and Keidan) v Secretary of State for the International Development [2018], in which two appellants challenged the legal requirement that a civil partnerships could only be authorised for same-sex couples and not mixed-couples.This, of course, was not aligned to the European Convention of Human Rights which provides that states must not interfere with their citizen’s private and family lives in a discriminative manner.Perhaps not surprisingly the Supreme Court found that only allowing same-sex couples to enter into a civil partnership was discriminative against mixed-couples and so a judgement was given to allow mixed-couples to also enter into civil partnerships.

Therefore, now any couple of any sexual orientation now have the choice to enter into a civil partnership or a marriage.

What is the main difference between a civil partners rights and marriage rights?

Ultimately, there appears to be little or no legal difference between a civil partnership and a marriage.  One could argue that the main difference for a civil partnership would be the absence of any religious connotations which are related and a major part of the foundations of marriage and its ceremony.

Besides this, both statuses share very similar legal rights and ultimately the law has allowed those in civil partnerships to have the same legal equality as those in marriage.

If you are looking for Civil Partnership Dissolution or have any questions on civil partners rights or marriage then please do not hesitate to contact on of our family lawyers for a free initial 30 minute consultation.

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