The UK government has announced that heterosexual couples are going to be allowed to enter into civil partnerships as an alternative to marriage. Therefore, addressing the imbalance between same-sex couples who can choose between marriage or civil partnership.
What is a civil partnership?
A civil partnership is a legally recognised relationship between two people and provides the same benefits as marriage. It was introduced in 2004 under the Civil Partnership Act when same same-sex couples could become civil partners. Same-sex marriage came into effect in 2014.
What is the difference between marriage and a civil partnership?
Unlike conventional marriage, there are no religious connotations attached to civil partnerships making them desirable to those who want to legally recognise their relationship but don’t believe in any particular religion.
Unlike marriage after which the partners will refer to each other as “husband” and “wife” the civil partnership will refer to each other as “civil partners”.
Civil partnerships might be favoured by those who consider marriage to be steeped in tradition, with women being given away by their fathers and being out of step with the twenty first century. Civil partnerships may be viewed as a more equal and a more modern approach to legally recognising a couple’s relationship. Though some would say that civil partnership is simply marriage by another name.
What are the similarities?
Civil partnerships can be ended the same way as a marriage. However, instead of getting a “divorce” civil partners will be seeking a “dissolution”. The process for dissolution is the same as divorce save that adultery cannot be used as a reason for the dissolution.
The financial aspects of a civil partnership dissolution are the same as if a party were married and getting divorced. For example, civil partners will have claims against their former civil partner in relation to property, capital assets, pensions and maintenance (for themselves and any children of the civil partnership). Those financial claims will be dealt with in exactly the same way as they would be if the civil partners were husband and wife.
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