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Same sex relationships

Before 2005, it was impossible for gay and lesbian couples in a committed relationship to be regarded by the law in the same terms as a heterosexual couple. Happily we have moved on since then- the law now recognises committed same sex couples in the same way as their heterosexual counterparts, but you may be left wondering exactly what this means. Commitment in a relationship may not mean you want to commit to a Civil Partnership, or you may want to know more information before you take the steps to such a commitment. To find out more please contact our specialist lawyers

We are not ready for the whole wedding or Civil Partnership commitment – what should we do and where do we stand?

If this is where you are, then you may be at the stage where you are thinking of moving in together. This is a big step and should not be taken lightly. Before you take any leap to a long term commitment you should consider who has the greatest capital assets? How would you wish these assets to be divided if you split up? EDWARD HAYES lawyers can provide you with a Pre-CIP, (Pre-Civil Partnership Agreement) which will spell out the details in the unhappy event that the relationship doesn’t work out.

It has all gone wrong! I want to move on now!

This is a common problem for gay and lesbian couples who have moved in together and who have not entered into a Civil Partnership, but now want to go their separate ways, without the benefit of a Pre-CIP. If you are the partner who had property at the start of the relationship, then beware as your former partner may have legal rights over that property. If you are the partner who moved in and then made financial contributions to a property, you may also have legal rights over the formerly shared home. The law in this area is governed by the Trust of Land and Appointment of Trustee Act 1996 (or TOLATA), so please contact the EDWARD HAYES Family Team

Registered Civil Partnerships or Gay Marriage

A registered Civil Partnership is in law the equivalent for gay and lesbian couples of a heterosexual marriage. This is a huge step that should not be entered into lightly as with it comes the legal benefits (especially in relation to property, children, inheritance & pension rights) but there are also legal responsibilities. There is, a one year bar to dissolution of the Partnership this means you cannot get ‘divorced’ in the first year of the Civil Partnership.

The procedure for dissolution of a Civil Partnership is exactly the same as for a divorce, you may have to make an Application to the Court. This does not mean that you will have to go to Court that will only happen in the event that you cannot reach agreement on how your joint financial assets are to be divided. If it is necessary to make an Application to the Court, then from April 2011 (except in very particular circumstances), you will be required to attend at least one appointment to consider if mediation is a suitable way in which to resolve the issues surrounding your separation. We are committed to dealing with the process of dissolution in the most amicable manner possible, so we have solicitors who are trained mediators and who practice what is known as collaborative law. Please refer to the Divorce, Children, Money Issues, Mediation and Collaborative law sections of our website for further information.

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