New Rights for Mixed-Sex Couples

Monday 2nd December 2019 brought with it the option to acquire rights for mixed-sex cohabiting couples. It has long been a concern for many that couples who cohabit (for whatever length of time) do not possess the same rights as married couples, even though living together as common law spouses. We know that common law marriages do not legally exist and so it has been a great cause of anxiety for those couples to find out, often on separation, or the death of their ‘other half’, that they do not have the same financial protection as a married couple.

Cohabitees (regardless of sex) do not have any additional rights over and above their contractual rights in terms of occupation so for example, if the house is owned solely by one party, their partner does not automatically have any right to occupy the property.

This is not the case if the couple decide to register Civil Partners, an option that has however until now only been available to same-sex couples, leaving mixed-sex couples, only one option: marriage.

This and similar issues have however now been addressed by the change in legislation which allows mixed-sex couples to register as Civil Partners. Just as with same-sex Civil Partners, mixed-sex Civil Partners will now acquire the same rights in respect of pensions, inheritance and property as married couples but without the need for a formal ‘marriage’ and the exchanging of vows. This welcome change in law demonstrates a more up to date approach to the living arrangements of millions of people.

Forming a Civil Partnership is a legal commitment and as such it is important to bear in mind how your finances and your partner’s rights in relation thereto may be affected by the formation of a Civil Partnership and to ensure you are each provided for in the event of a relationship breakdown.

If you are in any doubt as to how to register for a Civil Partnership, the effects of a Civil Partnership on your finances including the requirement for a Civil Partnership Agreement, or the breakdown of a Civil Partnership do not hesitate to contact one of our team of specialists for more information at enquiries@dodds-solicitors.co.uk or 0116 262 8596.

We offer a fixed fee initial advice appointment for £102 (inc vat) taking away any uncertainty about the initial cost of consulting a solicitor.