Civil partnership…. an option for everyone?

Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan have won their appeal to the Supreme Court and have successfully argued that for a civil partnership to remain an option for same sex couples only was incompatible with their human rights and amounted to discrimination.


A civil partnership is a legal status formed by a couple signing a civil partnership document. This is different to a marriage where couples are required to exchange specific words of declaration and contact.

Civil partners have similar rights to married couples including but not limited to the following: –

  • Access to certain tax reliefs and exemptions including exemption for inheritance tax for transfers of assets between spouses and civil partners
  • Recognition under intestacy rules on the death of a spouse or a civil partner
  • A right to apply for financial provision when the marriage or civil partnership is brought to an end

Since 2014, following the introduction of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, same sex couples have been able to choose whether to enter into a civil partnership or a marriage but opposite sex couples have not had the same choice.

Rebecca and Charles are fighting for the right to be able to enter into a civil partnership rather than a marriage.

The Government are currently reviewing civil partnerships and their role today when all couples, whether of the same sex or opposite sex are able to marry.

This comes at a time when there is much debate about cohabiting couples and the law governing the division of income and capital when couples separate. Currently the court has no power to make orders for financial provision when couples who have been living together separate.

If you are cohabiting or thinking of living with someone it is important to understand your rights and if possible, agree the terms on which you are living together with a cohabitation agreement.

For more information or to make an appointment for your free initial consultation you can all any of our offices.

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