In June 2018, following a landmark decision by the Courts, it was announced that, soon, heterosexual couples will be able to legally enter into a Civil Partnerships if they prefer that over a marriage. At the moment, until this law is implemented, only same-sex couples can enter into a Civil Partnership. This change, which is underway and due to come into force by the end of 2019, will mean that heterosexual couples who previously would have only had the option to marry, will have the option to enter into a Civil Partnership instead. This will also offer an alternative to marriage for heterosexual couples who do not wish to marry, but still want more legal protection for their relationship than they would have if they were living together as ‘cohabitees’.
What is different about a Civil Partnership
Most people will want to know what this means for them, whether there are any benefits or draw-backs from choosing a Civil Partnership over marriage or living together as cohabitees.
As yet, we do not know exactly what the law will look like for heterosexual couples wishing to enter into a civil partnership – however we can fairly safely assume that it will be very similar, if not identical, to the present law for same-sex couples who have the choice to enter into a Civil Partnership. On that basis, there is likely to be very little additional or lesser legal protection and benefits for Civil Partners as opposed to married couples. However this will mean that the protection that a Civil Partnership will offer to couples who otherwise would be cohabiting will be enormously beneficial. This will mean that couples who enter into a Civil Partnership will have access to a raft of financial protection if the Civil Partnership were to break down, rights to their home which may otherwise may not be available and other financial benefits during the Civil Partnership which are far better than if the couple were cohabiting without a Civil Partnership. Couples who intend to live together on a long-term basis should seriously consider, if they do not wish to marry, whether they would instead wish to enter into a Civil Partnership to gain access to available financial benefits and financial and legal protection if the relationship should break down.
We are monitoring these changes closely at Ellis Hass & Co and will be advising our clients once these changes to the law are in full effect. If you would like further advice on entering into a Civil Partnership and the legal benefits this may offer as compared to a cohabiting relationship or a marriage, please contact our Solihull Solicitor Greg Bowyer on 0121 746 3002 or by email to [email protected] .