Civil Partners to say ‘I do’
The news that the government’s plans for legalising gay marriage passed a significant parliamentary hurdle has been noted with interest by the Family Team at Coffin Mew.
As Maria Miller, Minister for Women and Equalities stated, the government view is that “it was an issue of equality”. It is understood that as long as the bill is passed in the House of Lords, the first marriages could take place in the summer of 2014.
From a legal point of view, however, it is important to note that this will not alter the legal rights and protections available to same-sex couples (on dissolution) since the introduction of Civil Partnerships in 2006, which are broadly the same as the remedies available under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 for couples divorcing.
At present, the Family team at Coffin Mew offers advice on the legal implications of entering into a civil partnership and this will be expanded to include any adjustments in relation to couples getting married. In an increasingly global world, we also have expertise in dealing with the jurisdictional issues that arise in civil partnerships where one of the parties may be living in or domiciled in another country.
Our service is fully integrated within the services offered by the Family team and as such, we offer a bespoke service in providing pre civil partnership agreements to clients who are contemplating a civil partnership as some couples are concerned that assets that they have acquired prior to their relationship are protected in the event of the civil partnership being dissolved. These agreements are not binding on the court but they are a factor the court can consider in any dispute. We will also continue to provide advice in relation to wills and inheritance matters.
With the recent votes in the House of Parliament on same-sex marriage, there are interesting changes on the horizon which the Family Team will be monitoring.