11 Sep Civil Partnership and Marriage – differences and financial implications
What is the difference between a civil partnership and a marriage?
As at the date of this article, 11th September 2019, the main differences are as follows:
- a civil partnership can only be entered into between people of the same sex. However, the law is due to be changed prior to 31st December 2019 which will then allow heterosexual couples to enter into a civil partnership and so this difference will then disappear. We are just waiting for confirmation that everything will go ahead on 31st December 2019.
- to end a civil partnership an application would be made for a dissolution of the civil partnership, whereas to end a marriage an application would be made for a divorce. The procedure for a dissolution and a divorce are very similar, although some of the terminology is different.
- to end a civil partnership you cannot apply on the basis of the irretrievable breakdown of the partnership on the basis of the other person’s adultery, whereas you can apply to end a marriage on the basis of adultery. This difference will however no longer apply when the “no fault” divorce law comes in, as then the reason to end a marriage or civil partnership will simply be due to irretrievable breakdown of the relationship.
Financial implications if the civil partnership ends?
Just like a marriage, if the partnership ends and dissolution proceedings take place then either you or your civil partner can apply to court for financial orders. The financial orders are the same orders available on a divorce. The financial orders which can be applied for are:
- A property adjustment order which is an order relating to property i.e. transferring a property into one person’s name, setting out how the property is to be owned under a trust or ordering the sale of the property etc.
- A lump sum order which is either a single payment of money or an amount of money to be paid in instalments.
- A periodical payments order (spousal maintenance) which is an order for one person to pay to the other person an amount of money at regular intervals e.g. weekly or monthly. To help that person to be able to live.
- A pension sharing order or a pension compensation order which is an order for one person to have a percentage share of the other person’s pension fund.
- A pension attachment order or a pension compensation attachment order which is an order for one person to receive a share of the other person’s income under their pension fund when it starts to pay out.
Whether all or some of the financial orders are appropriate will depend on the circumstances of you and your civil partner at the time, which is why it is always important to seek legal advice if the civil partnership is coming to an end or has ended.
I am living with my partner are we civil partners?
No. A civil partnership involves entering into a formal legal relationship and following specific procedures at the civil partnership ceremony, just like a marriage.
If you wish to seek advice about the ending of a civil partnership and the finances or you are thinking of entering into a civil partnership and wish to try to protect your finances please contact me, Genette Gale, for advice. I am a Family Solicitor and Collaborative Lawyer. My telephone number is 01747 852377. This article was written on 11.09.19.
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