The Civil Partnership Act came into force 2005 and allows same sex couples to enter into a ‘Civil Partnership’ giving those couples similar rights to married couples. The Civil Partnership Act only applies to same sex couples and not heterosexual couples. A Civil Partnership will only end on death, dissolution or an annulment.
Generally, unmarried cohabiting couples have no rights in Family Law in the event of relationship breakdown. For example a person living in a house which is in their partner’s name has no consequential rights over that property merely because of that relationship, regardless of how long they have lived together.
Many cohabiting couples are unaware of their legal position and some even think they possess similar rights to married couples, often due to the myth of the ‘Common Law Marriage’.
Although heterosexual couples have always had the option of securing their rights by getting married, homosexual couples have never been afforded this opportunity. The Civil Partnership Act also allows a homosexual couple to have their relationship publicly recognized.
If you are considering entering into a Civil Partnership or would just like to know how your property rights would be affected upon the breakdown of a relationship or on death, please contact a member of our family team.