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Difference between civil partnership and gay marriage

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Since 31 December couples of the opposite sex have been able to enter into a civil partnership. Following this momentous change, both opposite and same sex couples in England and Wales can now choose between a civil partnership and marriage when they formalise their relationship. A civil partnership is a legal relationship entered into by a couple which is registered and provides them with similar legal rights to married couples. Civil partnerships were introduced in to provide legal recognition and protection for same sex couples. Since then the law has further developed to enable marriages between same sex couples too. This created the unusual situation whereby same sex couples had the choice of marriage or civil partnership, but opposite sex couples were restricted to marriage only.

SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Civil Partnership vs Marriage - What's The Difference

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SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Same Sex Marriage and Civil Partnerships

What is the difference between a civil partnership and a marriage?

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We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. You can find out more or opt-out from some cookies. For information in England and Wales about the legal differences between living together and marriage, see Living together and marriage — legal differences. Living together means living together as a couple without being married or in a civil partnership. In some areas of law you may not have the same rights as you would if you registered a civil partnership, although in other areas of law you will.

You can also find out more about the differences between living together and marriage. If you want to set down your legal rights in certain areas of your relationship with your partner, you can make an official agreement that will be recognised by the courts. This is known as a living together agreement or cohabitation contract.

This agreement can be about, for example, shared responsibility for your children, ownership of property which you live in, and ownership of jointly owned possessions. You will need the help of an experienced solicitor to do this. Although a living together agreement is recognised by the courts, it may be difficult to force your partner to keep to the terms of the agreement.

You should get legal advice if you find yourself in this position. For more information about living together agreements, see Living Together Agreements on the Advicenow website at: www. A civil partnership is a legal relationship which can be registered by two people who aren't related to each other.

Registering a civil partnership will give your relationship legal recognition. This will give you added legal rights, as well as responsibilities. Once you have registered a civil partnership, it can only be ended if one of you dies, or by applying to court to bring the partnership legally to an end.

You cannot apply to bring a civil partnership to an end until it has lasted for at least one year. For more information about civil partnerships, see Registering a civil partnership. As civil partners, you may choose to draw up an agreement, known as a pre-registration agreement , before you register your partnership. A pre-registration agreement can set out your rights and obligations towards each other and, in particular, what should happen if your relationship breaks down.

It can include arrangements for children and your personal possessions, for example, the family home and any pensions. Both of you should get independent legal advice when you make an agreement.

A pre-registration agreement is not legally binding but could influence the courts if they get involved when your civil partnership breaks down. If you are in a civil partnership, this procedure will be straightforward and not involve an agency, as long as the applicant has lived with the child for at least six months.

If you're not in a civil partnership, the procedure is likely to take longer. The law on adoption is different depending on which country you're adopting from. Some countries may not allow adoption by a same-sex couple, even if you are civil partners. If you want to adopt from outside the UK, you will need advice from an expert on overseas adoption. If you are living together with your partner and you both have separate bank accounts, neither of you can have access to money held in the other one's account.

If one of you dies, any balance in the account will be the property of the person who died and cannot be used until the estate is settled. If you and your partner have a joint bank account, you both have access to the money in the account. If the account is in joint names and one of you dies, the whole account immediately becomes the property of the other partner.

If you and your civil partner have separate bank accounts and one of you dies, the bank may allow the other one to withdraw any money left in the account. The amount left would need to be small. The bank would probably require proof of your relationship and also proof that your partner has died. If you have a joint bank account, the money is owned jointly regardless of who put it into the account.

Debts and overdrafts relating to a joint bank account are the responsibility of both you and your partner. This is regardless of whose debt it is. If one of you dies without leaving a will, there are rules about how your property will be distributed. The surviving partner will not automatically inherit anything unless you and your partner owned property together.

When one of you dies and there is a valid will, the surviving partner will inherit under the terms of the will if it makes provision for them. If you and your partner are living together, you will each need to make wills to make sure that your partner is provided for.

If property is left to you by your partner, you may have to pay inheritance tax on it if it is valued at over a certain amount. When a civil partner dies, transfer of property is exempt from inheritance tax. However, you will not be exempt if you and your partner were living together without being in a civil partnership. If either you or your partner dies without making a will, the other partner will still inherit some or possibly all of your property.

If your civil partner dies and has made a will, you will inherit under the terms of the will if it makes provision for you. If you write a will, you can leave your money, property and possessions to whoever you want. If there is no will, a child has a legal right to inherit from both birth parents, and from the extended family of both these parents. If there is no will, a child has the right to inherit from either their birth parent or a parent who has adopted them. A child has no right to inherit from the estate of a step-parent unless the step-parent has adopted them or provided for them in their will.

If you have debts or other financial responsibilities, these do not become the responsibility of your partner when you move in with them. This is the case whether you are civil partners or not. You are responsible for debts in your own name, but not for those in your partner's name.

You are also responsible for debts in joint names and may be responsible for some debts which aren't in joint names, such as council tax. For more information about joint debts when you split up with your partner, see the guide to breaking up on the Advicenow website at: www. If your partner is violent towards you or your children, you can apply to a court for protection.

You can do this whether you are a civil partner or living together. However, if you aren't a civil partner, there are fewer things the court can do to protect you.

If a man rapes his partner, he can be convicted of this offence. This applies whether you are civil partners or living together. He can also be convicted of sexual assault.

A woman cannot legally rape another woman, although she may be charged with other offences, such as sexual assault. For more information about domestic violence, see Domestic violence. If you are living together with your partner without being in a civil partnership, you can separate informally without going to court. However, the court has the power to make decisions about who should take care of any children of the family.

If you are in a civil partnership, you and your partner can separate informally, but you will need to apply to court if you want to end your civil partnership formally. If you are dissolving a civil partnership or getting a legal separation, the court will not end the relationship until it has looked at the arrangements for the children.

When a relationship ends, everyone with parental responsibility needs to decide who will care for the children on a day-to-day basis. Having parental responsibility means you have some responsibility for a child's health, education and welfare. If you're the same-sex partner of a child's parent, you may have parental responsibility for the child — see under heading Responsibility for children. If you and your partner find it difficult to agree between yourselves about the care of your children, you can ask for help from the local Family Mediation Service.

For more information about family mediation, see Using mediation when you separate. If you and your partner can't reach agreement by yourselves and do not both want to use the Mediation Service, you can ask the courts to make decisions for you. You'll need legal advice to do this. For more information about children at the end of a relationship, see Making arrangements about your children.

Neither you or your partner has a legal responsibility to support the other financially at the end of a relationship if you were not in a civil partnership. However, you will be legally responsible for supporting a child if you are the child's birth or adoptive parent. In some cases, you may also have to support a child if you are the step-parent. If you come to a voluntary agreement with your partner to pay financial support, it may be difficult to force them to keep to it.

For more information about financial support at the end of a relationship when you are living together, see Financial support when you separate. For more about child maintenance, see Child maintenance — where to start. For more about family-based arrangements, see How to make a family-based child maintenance arrangement. You and your partner have a legal responsibility to support one another financially when your civil partnership has ended.

You are also responsible for supporting a child for whom you are the birth or adopted parent. You can get help to agree financial arrangements with your partner from your local Family Mediation Service. If you live in rented accommodation with your partner, one or both of you may be tenants. If your partner leaves, or asks you to leave and you aren't named on the tenancy agreement, you will usually have no right to stay in the accommodation. This applies whether you live in privately rented or social housing accommodation.

However, you may, in some circumstances, be able to ask a court to give you short-term rights to stay in the accommodation or to transfer the tenancy into your name. You should get legal advice before doing this.

If you are living together with your partner in rented accommodation, it is usually advisable for you to be joint tenants. This will give you both the same rights and responsibilities.

If the tenancy is in the name of only one of you, it may be possible to change it to a joint tenancy as long as the one who is the tenant and the landlord both agree. If your partner dies and your name is not on the tenancy, you may have the right to continue living in the accommodation.

If you are in this position, you should get legal advice. If you are living in rented accommodation, you may need advice about you rights to stay in the accommodation or about taking on a joint tenancy. You can get help and advice from your local CAB.

The difference between marriage and civil partnership

A civil partnership is a legally recognised relationship between two people and offers many of the same benefits as a conventional marriage. Those in a civil partnership benefit from the same rights as married couples in terms of tax benefits, pensions and inheritance. It will also take place in front a registrar as opposed to a recognised religious leader, such as a vicar or a rabbi. The civil partnership ceremony itself does not involve an exchanging of vows or the singing of hymns as a conventional wedding might.

From today 31 December heterosexual couples in England and Wales will be allowed to enter into civil partnerships. Extending the union ensures "that all couples, be they same-sex or opposite-sex, are given the same choices in life," said Mrs May.

The supreme court has recognised that women and men are allowed to have one, rather than just having the option of marriage as a legally-binding union. Why would someone seek to have a civil partnership, rather than a marriage, should both be legally available to them? Here are the differences between a civil partnership, which British same-sex couples have been able to have since December gay marriage was made legal in England, Scotland and Wales in However a civil partnership is entirely a civil process.

Living together, marriage and civil partnership

We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. You can find out more or opt-out from some cookies. For information in England and Wales about the legal differences between living together and marriage, see Living together and marriage — legal differences. Living together means living together as a couple without being married or in a civil partnership. In some areas of law you may not have the same rights as you would if you registered a civil partnership, although in other areas of law you will. You can also find out more about the differences between living together and marriage. If you want to set down your legal rights in certain areas of your relationship with your partner, you can make an official agreement that will be recognised by the courts.

Marriage and civil partnership in England and Wales

You may assume that this means that civil partnerships no longer exist, but they do. Same-sex couples in the UK are able to decide between marriage and civil partnerships — a choice that is not currently offered to opposite-sex couples, who can only marry. From a legal standpoint, these two unions share very similar characteristics. In fact, civil partners have exactly the same legal rights in many areas of the law, including:. Essentially, there are very few differences from a legal standpoint between marriage and civil partnerships except for the fact that only homosexual couples are able to enter into civil partnerships.

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The difference between a civil partnership and marriage, and what the UK law change means

Understanding the Law for Same Sex Couples The law differs in relation to same sex marriages and civil partnerships. Our family law solicitors have experience in dealing with all aspects of both and can provide you with the highest quality legal advice for same sex couples. The Marriage Same Sex Couples Act of effectively puts same sex marriages on the same legal footing as those of heterosexual couples. The rights and obligations of a married same sex couple are exactly the same as those of a married opposite sex couple.

There are differences in a number of administrative aspects of civil partnerships when compared to marriage. Establishing which is the right option for you could be an important factor in your future happiness. Marriage has always been available for heterosexual couples. In , legislation allowing same-sex marriage came into force in the UK. This means that marriage is open to everyone in the UK, except in Northern Ireland, where same-sex marriage is not legal. Same-sex couples who married in England and Wales will be treated as civil partners in Northern Ireland.

Civil Partnership and Same Sex Marriage

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In civil partnerships were introduced in the UK. Whilst sometimes referred to as 'gay marriage', this is not strictly accurate as there are legal differences.

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The difference between civil partnerships and marriage

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