Civil Partnership and Marriage compared

After months of consultation, the Civil Partnerships Act 2004 was eventually passed on the 5th December 2005. The Act was widely celebrated as a victory for gay rights and the first civil partnership ceremonies in England and Wales were held on 21st December 2005. Civil partners receive many of the same rights as married couples, including:

• Property rights

• Benefit entitlements

• Pension rights

• Inheritance tax exemptions

However, whilst the character of civil partnerships and marriages is similar, the legal technicalities are slightly different, largely due to a desire to protect to age old institution of marriage.

Separating civil partners undergo a process similar to divorce called dissolution which partners can only petition citing irretrievable breakdown. Whereas husbands or wives can cite adultery as grounds for irretrievable breakdown, civil partners cannot do so. As with marriage, only death, annulment or dissolution/divorce can end a civil partnership.

In terms of the separation process, there is very little difference between civil partnership dissolution and divorce. Financial settlements, property arrangements and the division of assets is decided in the same way for both.

Like marriage, civil partnerships protect the rights of those whose partners die. Any pre-existing wills are rendered void after a civil partnership like in marriage. Therefore, civil partners should draw up their wills and inheritance tax arrangements in the same way as a husband and wife would.

Thinking of Civil Partnership Dissolution?

Wherever you live in England and Wales our team of specialist divorce solicitors can help you with Civil Partnership Dissolution – in meetings at one of our offices listed below, or by e-mail, phone and Skype video.

SALISBURY [01722] 422300

AMESBURY [01980] 622992

ANDOVER [01264] 364433


Or e-mail our family law team at advice@the–