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Many same sex partners who consider registering a civil partnership think of it in terms of making a commitment to each other and having their relationship publicly recognised.
While these may be important, it is also essential to understand the rights and responsibilities you will each have - similar to those of a (mixed sex) married couple. One of the key advantages of registering a civil partnership is that it provides a degree of financial security for each other.
Registered partners have a duty to provide reasonable maintenance for each other and for any child of the partnership. If the relationship breaks down, either partner may be able to make a financial claim in much the same way as when a married couple divorce.
Civil partners are treated in the same way as married couples for taxation purposes - this can have a major advantage in terms of inheritance tax (IHT) and capital gains tax (CGT). Registered civil partners are treated in the same way as married couples for most state benefits and employment benefits as well.
Registering a civil partnership is a good opportunity to review your financial planning generally, including pension arrangements, life insurance and so on. In addition, registering the partnership automatically revokes any existing wills. Each partner will have an automatic right to inherit at least part of the other’s estate on death, but this may well not provide the outcome you would want – you should each prepare a new will.
If you have a child, you and your partner can apply to jointly adopt the child or apply for parental responsibility. A same sex couple can also apply to adopt a child who is not related to either of you.
A registered civil partnership remains in force until it is dissolved (or in rare cases annulled) by the court. If you separate without dissolving the partnership, neither of you is able to enter a new registered partnership (or to get married).
Contact our family law team to discuss your circumstances.
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