Lead Forensics
Prettys Solicitors Ipswich

Family law

Civil Partnerships and Same Sex Relationships

A family lawyer at Prettys can advise you on any legal issues to do with a civil partnership or same sex relationship or marriage, including a pre-nup or post-nup agreement or a separation. Here are answers to some common questions. 

What is a civil partnership?

A same sex relationship which has been formally registered to enhance the legal and tax benefits of that relationship.  From 10 December 2014, civil partnerships can be converted into marriages.

How can I enter a civil partnership?

You must be over 16 (parental permission is required if under 18) and legally free to marry (ie. single, divorced or widowed).  You can only presently enter into a civil partnership in the UK in England and Wales, and only same sex couples can enter into a civil partnership.  You must give 29 days’ notice at your local register office of your intention to marry, and once this expires you may have a religious or civil ceremony.

Can I still enter in a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement?

Yes.  Pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements between same sex couples in a civil partnership or marriage operate in the same way as if between a heterosexual couple. A lawyer from Prettys offices can advise you on a prenup or post-nuptial agreement.

How do I end a civil partnership/marriage?

You must have been in the partnership or marriage for at least 1 year.  The ending of a civil partnership is known as dissolution, for marriage it will be divorce.  The grounds for dissolution between a same sex couple are: unreasonable behaviour; desertion; two years’ separation or five years’ separation.  There is an additional ground of adultery available to married couples. For civil partnerships, a dissolution petition needs to be filed with the court; for marriages, a divorce petition.

Do I have financial claims?

Civil partnerships and marriage provide for financial claims for each party against the other for income, capital, property and pension.  You should consider the importance of a financial Order to resolve those claims and to define if the claims continue beyond the relationship.

I am in a same sex relationship and cohabiting.  What are my rights?

If there are assets in joint names, you have a legal right to your share of those assets and to make an application to court if matters cannot be resolved between you.  If the property is in your partners’ name and you have made financial contributions, you may be able to recover that contribution by application to the court if matters cannot be resolved between you. 

What should I do next?

If you need advice on a pre-nup, post-nup or any other issue, including a separation, contact a lawyer from the Family Team on 01473 232121, ask for a call back here or e-mail us here. Prettys works with clients in the Ipswich and Chelmsford areas and across Suffolk, Essex and East Anglia.

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