If you and your former beloved finally throw in the towel, make sure you protect the shirt on your back.
The 2004 Civil Partnership Act gave same-sex couples the same rights and responsibilities as heterosexual married couples. In 2014 same-sex marriage was finally allowed in England and Wales.
In Scotland, same-sex marriage will not be available til the autumn 2014. In Northern Ireland, there is as yet no estimate at all by when same-sex marriage will be available - it will have to come by court-case, as a majority in the Assembly have opposed it.
Civil partnership remains available UK-wide, and soon (but not yet) civil partners will be able to transform their relationship into marriage.
This is good news, but while most people have understandably concentrated on the rights side of things, don’t forget there are responsibilities too, and nowhere does this come into starker relief than when a marriage or civil partnership breaks down.
At the end of a marriage or civil partnership, both parents are responsible for supporting their children financially, regardless of where the children will live. Don’t forget that this means biological parents and people who have parental responsibility.
You and your partner have a legal responsibility to support one another financially at the end of a marriage or civil partnership. This is the case whether or not you have children.
You can agree among yourselves or let the court decide what financial arrangments are required. Just as in the breakdown of a heterosexual marriage, the court can give maintenance and lump sum orders , property adjustment orders , orders for sale and pension sharing orders.
Before you agree to a package of financial support, you may want to take advice about whether it is an appropriate arrangement. It may also be useful to have an agreement written up by a solicitor in case of future problems. Don’t forget, that if you separate without a formal agreement as to financial arrangements and one of you subsequently has an unexpected windfall (for example a large work bonus), then that windfall will form part of the joint assets of the partnership during a later negotiation.
You also need to aware who is actually the owner of the family property. The partner who is not the owner will need to protect their right to stay there. It is imperative that you take advice about this.
If you wish to speak to an LGBT-friendly adviser about this, please enter your postcode under the map on your right to find an adviser near you.
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