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Civil partnership

A civil partnership is a legal union between two people who aren’t related to each other. The union legally recognises your relationship. It’s very similar to a marriage but has only come about in more recent history. It was devised initially to allow both same-sex and opposite sex couples to enter a legal relationship.

In 2004, The Civil Partnership Act was passed to allow same-sex legal unions – and they were limited to same-sex couples only. But today, both same-sex and opposite-sex couples can unite in a civil partnership or a marriage if they choose. 

How is it different from a marriage?

All in all, the unions are pretty similar. The main differences are the following:

  • A marriage is formed through vows; a partnership is through signing a document
  • A marriage ends in divorce, a civil partnership ends in dissolution
  • Adultery isn’t a valid reason to end a civil partnership, whereas it is in a marriage
  • A marriage has religious origins

Otherwise, they are almost identical. Like marriage, you form a civil partnership when you legally register your partnership in front of witnesses. And the legal implications are binding.

How do I register for a civil partnership?

There are a few eligibility requirements for entering a civil partnership:

  • You’re over 16
  • You and your partner are not closely related
  • You’re not already legally bound to someone

Presuming all of the above is true, all you must do from here is give notice and plan the type of ceremony you’d like, whether this be religious, civil or other. 

What does the union mean for your taxes?

Civil partners have the same tax rights as married couples:

  • Assets left by a civil partner to their surviving partner are not subject to Inheritance Tax
  • Civil partners pay council tax together
  • You’re eligible for the Marriage Allowance
  • Civil partners do not have to pay Capital Gains Tax on the transfer of assets between them
  • You can only nominate one primary residence for principal private residence tax exemption if sold
  • Civil partners must make a joint claim for any tax credits, which will take into account both partners’ incomes

 

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