Currently only same sex couples can enter into a civil partnership.

A London couple, Charles Keidon and Rebecca Steinfield have had a long running campaign for the right for heterosexual couples to have the right to enter into a civil partnership.

The Supreme Court hearing has been adjourned for at least two months.

If there is a ruling in their favour it could speed up the introduction of civil partnerships for heterosexual couples.

It is a popular misconception that co-habitation for a set period of time creates a “common law” marriage and in the event of a split the parties can make financial claims against the other.

There is no such thing as common law marriage in English law and cohabiting couples do not have the same legal rights as married couples or those in civil partnerships.

If legislative changes are made many of the United Kingdom’s 3.3 million cohabiting couples may register their partnership.

Strangely, so far as tax law is concerned, no legislative changes will be needed as tax law just refers to civil partnerships and there is no mention of same or opposite sex couples.

If a couple cohabit and one partner dies, the survivor can be charged Inheritance Tax at 40% whereas with spouses and civil partners assets can be transferred tax free.

Whilst it is hoped that couples marry for love rather than for tax relief, marriage and civil partnership does allow couples to tax plan, Inheritance Tax plan and secure pension benefits.  The payment of any spouse pension is at the discretion of Pension Trustees if the couple are not married or in a civil partnership.


If you have any queries in relation to civil partnerships or the breakdown of civil partnerships or divorce, please do not hesitate to contact one of our specialist financial solicitors at our offices at Lincoln, Boston, Grantham, Newark and Spalding.

Christine Pickwell is accredited by Resolution as having special expertise in dealing with financial settlements further to breakdown of a marriage or civil partnership.


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