Yes, it’s important for you if you:
- Live together and are worried about your legal rights
- Want to make a commitment, but marriage feels like an outdated institution
Do Couples Who Live Together Have Rights?
Sadly there’s no such thing as Common Law Marriage. Consequently the rights of cohabitees are limited.
As a result, pensions and property and inheritance are major problems. See my earlier post “6 Things You Need To Know About ‘Common Law’ Marriage”
Why Was A Court Case About Civil Partnerships for Heterosexual Couples Necessary?
Same sex couples can enter into Civil Partnerships but opposite sex couples can’t. This is thanks to the Civil Partnership Act 2004.
A cohabiting couple, Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan, challenged the law because their local register office refused them a civil partnership. Hence they started a long and expensive Court battle which they won on the 27 June. Here is the Supreme Court Judgment.
Why Did They Fight For Civil Partnerships for Heterosexual Couples?
Rebecca and Charles have lived together for many years and have two children. Consequently they want to make a commitment in the eyes of the law – but they don’t want to marry. Why don’t they want to marry? Because they believe a civil partnership better reflects the equality of their relationship.
Furthermore they consider marriage has historically:
- Promoted a world view where heterosexuality is the preferred sexual orientation
- Supported a system of society controlled by a single gender, namely male.
What Did The Supreme Court Have To Say?
The Supreme Court held the Civil Partnership Act 2004 was incompatible with human rights law.
The relevant Articles under the Human Rights Act 1988 are: Article 8 - Right to respect for family and private life Article 14 - Prohibition from discrimination
Time To Book Your Civil Partnership?
Not quite yet because the Government needs to change the law. But Rebecca and Charles have delivered a letter to Equalities Minister, Penny Mordaunt MP – so watch this space.
What Can You Do In The Meantime?
Sign this Petition to Penny Mordaunt MP.
Email your MP and ask them to support Tim Loughton’s private members’ bill, entitled Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Bill 2017-19. Find your MP’s email address by inputting your postcode on the UK Parliament website
Depending on the urgency of your circumstances, you may need to ask a lawyer for advice on:
- A Cohabitation Agreement, see my earlier post “6 Things You Must Include In A Cohabitation Agreement”
- The ownership of property
- Entitlement to your partner’s pension
- Updating your Will.
Civil Partnerships for Heterosexual Couples
Contact Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for free advice on Civil Partnerships for Heterosexual Couples. In this 20 minute session we will review your situation and how you can achieve your objectives.
JUST FAMILY LAW are specialist divorce and family law solicitors offering personalised legal solutions. We offer collaborative law which is especially relevant in providing solutions tailored to your family’s needs. This includes same sex couples and their families. Visit our website just-family-law.com The topics covered in this blog post are complex and are provided for general guidance only. Therefore if any of the circumstances mentioned in this blog have application to you, seek expert legal advice.
Image: Trash The Dress by Mathias Poujol-Rost on Wikimedia