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Civil Partnership Agreements

Rowlinsons are specialised in Civil Partnership Agreements. We can ensure that you receive straightforward and effective legal advice, both before and after entering a civil partnership.

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Civil Partnership Agreement Solicitors

Entering into a civil partnership is a joyful time and no one wants to believe that their relationship won’t last. Even if splitting up seems unimaginable now, it can happen to even the happiest couple.

That’s why it’s best to get specialised legal advice from a family law solicitor early on before you make the legal commitment.

Putting a pre-civil partnership agreement in place helps protect your financial and legal interests and those of any future children that come out of the relationship.

 

Pre-Civil Partnership Agreements

At Rowlinsons, we have a wealth of experience helping same-sex and opposite-sex couples with drafting pre-and post-civil partnership agreements.

You’ll receive straightforward yet sensitive legal advice from our friendly team of expert family lawyers. The head of our department is trained in collaborative and family law and is an accredited Resolution Specialist and Law Society Accredited Family Lawyer. This means you get a highly qualified legal team committed to delivering as stress-free an experience as possible for everyone involved.

For help and advice preparing your pre-civil partnership agreement get in touch today or arrange a call back. We also have meeting facilities in North Wales so you can talk confidentially in person with a qualified family lawyer.

 

What is a civil partnership?

A civil partnership is a legally recognised union between two unrelated people that gives them certain legal rights, responsibilities, and obligations to each other.

This means that after the Civil Partnership Act Dec 2005 was introduced, same-sex relationships could have similar legal standing as marriage. It is also possible for opposite-sex couples to enter into a civil partnership rather than getting married.

 

What rights and responsibilities do civil partners have?

When a couple enters a civil partnership, they receive:

  • Home rights. The right to occupy the matrimonial home. Even if you don’t own it or your name is not on the rental agreement you have the right to live there in event of dissolution unless a court orders you to leave.
  • The right to apply for parental responsibility for their partner’s child.
  • The ability to adopt a child.
  • The responsibility to provide for their family. If the family breaks down, you may be obliged to pay spousal or child maintenance.
  • Equal treatment as a married couple in tax and benefits.
  • Life assurance recognition.
  • Pension and employment benefits.
  • Household income assessment on a joint basis.
  • Next of kin rights. If one of you is taken into hospital, the other partner will be kept informed of any updates or information (although you have limited decision-making without power of attorney).

 

How does a civil partnership affect financial matters?

When you enter a civil partnership, you have the same financial rights and obligations towards your partner as in a marriage.

The main financial advantages of being in a civil partnership are receiving the married couples’ tax allowance and being able to transfer assets without the liability of paying capital gains tax or inheritance tax.

If the relationship comes to an end and you decide to dissolve the civil partnership you still have these financial obligations to each other. This means you or your former partner will have the right to claim a share of any assets or property acquired during the partnership.

 

What’s the difference between a civil partnership and a marriage?

The rights and obligations of couples in a civil partnership are similar but not identical to those of same sex marriage. Marriage comes with certain traditional and religious connotations that civil partnerships do not and that some people wish to avoid, but there are other differences

Civil partnerships for opposite-sex couples

Since December 2019 an opposite-sex couple may register a civil partnership if they wish to give their relationship legal recognition without getting married.

This allows heterosexual couples who don’t want a traditional marriage for whatever reason to have the same legal rights as married couples.

Do civil partners get divorced?

If you have a civil partnership, the process to legally end that relationship is the same as a married couple. It is not called a divorce, but instead is called a dissolution. The forms and process are the same, whether you are married or in a civil partnership.

There is also a process to apply for financial settlement as a result of dissolution of a civil partnership, again in a similar way to an application for divorce for married couples.

If you wish to discuss applying for a dissolution of a civil partnership, or you want to speak further about what is involved in the process, please telephone and ask to speak with the Family Department.

Differences between Same Sex Marriage and Civil Partnership

There are advantages to opting for a same-sex marriage over a civil partnership, some of which include:

Pensions

In the unfortunate event of a same-sex spouse's passing, their partner is entitled to a percentage of their pension that reflects the total number of years that the deceased paid into it. In contrast, with a civil partnership, the surviving spouse would only receive a portion of the pension based on contributions made since 2004 (for a private sector pension) or 1988 (for a public sector pension).

 

International recognition

As more and more countries continue to accept same-sex marriages, having your marital status recognised as such can be incredibly beneficial. Fewer countries, on the other hand, recognise the legal status of a civil partnership.

 

Transgender issues

Before the enactment of the Same Sex Marriage Act of 2013, if a married heterosexual person underwent a sex change, their marriage would no longer be recognised after receiving their Gender Recognition Certificate. Consequently, people were sometimes forced to divorce and then enter into a civil partnership with their ex-spouse. The new law, however, allows individuals in this situation to remain married and have their marriage remain valid.

 

Converting a Civil-Partnership to a Marriage

The Married (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 also permits civil partners to convert their partnership into a marriage if they so desire. This provision enables couples to formalise their union and enjoy the same legal rights and privileges as same-sex spouses.

 

How to convert a civil partnership into a marriage?

Since March 2014 same-sex couples have been able to marry in the UK. The process of converting a civil partnership into a marriage is relatively simple.

In England and Wales, you make an appointment with your local registrar to convert your civil partnership to a marriage. At the registry office you, your partner and the registrar will sign the declaration. The conversion will be registered, and a marriage certificate issued.

 

Process of dissolving a civil partnership

The process of dissolution is fundamentally the same as in a divorce. If the couple wishes to separate within the first year, they can apply for a separation order.

You cannot dissolve a civil partnership within the first year. You have to wait 12 months until you can apply for a dissolution.

Formerly, couples had to provide a reason for the split but since 6th April 2022 neither you nor your partner needs to give a reason, which is sometimes referred to as ‘no fault.’

 

What is a pre-civil partnership agreement?

A pre-civil partnership agreement is a written contract between two people who are about to enter into a civil partnership. A post-civil partnership agreement is made after the couple has entered the civil partnership. Both are legal documents that set out in writing the couple’s intentions for their financial affairs and the division of assets if they decide to dissolve the partnership.

 

Why do I need a pre-civil partnership agreement?

Many people do not realise the extent of their legal obligations to each other until the civil partnership comes to an end. Getting legal advice early on will help avoid any confusion or acrimony over the division of assets.

Having a legal agreement setting out your intentions can help secure valuable items, family heirlooms, major assets, properties and business interests.

 

Can a pre-civil partnership agreement be enforced?

In England and Wales, a pre- or post-civil partnership is not legally binding. Ultimately, the court has the discretion to determine financial and family matters in the event of dissolution.

However, the pre-civil partnership agreement will be considered by the court and its terms can be implemented and upheld in whole or in part under certain criteria.

These include evidence that the agreement was made freely and voluntarily without pressure and both parties appreciated its implications and received independent legal advice during the process.

The court must be satisfied that both parties intended the agreement to be effective and binding on them, and to govern the financial implications of dissolution. The court must also decide whether it would be fair to hold either to the agreement at the time of dissolution.

 

When should you do the pre-civil partnership agreement?

It’s best to obtain your pre-civil partnership agreement as early on as possible so you can take your time preparing it.

If the court is asked to consider a pre-civil partnership agreement during dissolution, it will look at whether both parties were able to make the agreement without undue pressure or stress.

To give both of you plenty of time to consider the details included in the agreement, aim to have it prepared and settled three months before your civil partnership.

However, a post-civil partnership agreement can be made at any time after registering your civil partnership. It is also advisable to continue to update your agreement from time to time to make sure it is still fair and relevant.

At Rowlinsons, our family law team can assist at any time with preparing and drafting your pre- or post-civil partnership agreement.

 

Why choose Rowlinsons for your pre-civil partnership agreement?

Rowlinsons has many years of experience helping same-sex couples create tailored pre- or post-civil partnership agreements that suit their requirements.

We’ll listen to your individual circumstances and discuss your options. You’ll get clear, high-quality legal advice to help you to identify what specific information to include to secure your financial future and protect your family in the event of dissolution.

We are committed to offering reliable and responsible legal services and we remain steadfastly focused on meeting their needs and ensuring their satisfaction.

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Contact Our Civil Partnership Solicitors

Rowlinsons Solicitors are here to help with any unmarried couples legal advice, including pre-civil partnership agreements. Our specialist Civil Partnership Solicitors are accredited members of the Law Society's Family Law panel. We pride ourselves on our approachable, friendly and professional legal team.

Our aim is to achieve amicable resolutions to ensure the best start to your civil partnership. We have years of experience in resolving issues, and drafting agreements that all parties are satisfied with.

When you choose Rowlinsons for your civil partnership, you can be sure you have a specialist by your side, with the legal expertise to tackle any issues that may be ahead. Ensuring the highest level of client care is our priority, and we will always work by your side to get you the outcome you're looking for.

We are consistently recognised as one of the leading Family Law Firms in Cheshire. With offices in Runcorn and Frodsham, we regularly support unmarried couples across the Northwest, including St Helens, Chester, Warrington, Widnes, and Northwich. We are able to act for clients right across England and Wales, so contact our team today for specialist and tailored legal advice.

To find out more, please contact us for an initial no obligation call or click here for a call back. We also have meeting facilities in Colwyn Bay for Family Law clients.