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Heterosexual civil partnerships

Following a recent decision at the Supreme Court, we could be on the cusp of a change in the law that will enable heterosexual couples to enter into civil partnerships.

Our Family Associate Angela Davis spoke with Dean Pepall on BBC Radio Derby about this on 01 July 2018, discussing how we see this case shaping the future of civil partnerships. You can listen to the interview by clicking here.

Are you able to enter into a civil partnership as a ‘straight’ couple?

At the moment, heterosexual couples are not able to enter into a civil partnership.

However, the recent case involving Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan was taken to the Supreme Court on the fact that heterosexual couples should be able to enter civil partnerships and denying them the ability to do so is discriminative.

Following the court case, the Government is expected to review the Civil Partnership Act 2004 and amend it to allow all people, regardless of gender, to enter into a civil partnership.

What is a civil partnership and why would heterosexual couples want to enter into one?

A civil partnership is a legally recognised union of a couple, with rights similar to those of marriage.

Many couples want a long-term commitment to each other but do not want the religious base of a marriage.

The issue is, however, that civil partnerships are currently exclusive to same-sex couples.

What are the differences between a civil partnership and marriage?

A civil partnership is treated as equal to marriage in terms of inheritance, tax, pensions and next-of-kin arrangements.

There is no regimented format during a civil ceremony like there is in marriage and reference to religious elements is not allowed.

However, one of the most notable differences between a marriage and a civil partnership is that adultery cannot be used as evidence for the dissolution of a civil partnership.

What is next?

We expect the Government to formally review the Civil Partnership Act 2004 and enable all couples to enter into civil partnerships. We will be closely monitoring this situation and will keep you updated.

If you have any questions about civil partnerships, marriage or any other family-related situations, please contact our Family team on 01332 340 211.

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