The Government has published a report on the conclusions of the review of Civil Partnership Act 2004 as required under the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013.
Following a consultation period, the report confirmed that Civil Partnerships will be capable of conversion into marriage from 10th December 2014 but concluded that no further changes would be made.
A majority of respondents who expressed a view on the three proposed changes to the Civil Partnership were opposed to each of them. Of the over 10,000 online survey answers to each of the relevant questions:
• Less than a third of respondents supported abolition of Civil Partnership;
• The majority were against closing Civil Partnership to new couples;
• Over three-quarters were against opening up Civil Partnership to opposite sex couples.
The report concluded that, given the lack of consensus on the way forward for Civil Partnership, the Government will not be making any changes until the impact of extending marriage to same sex couples could be assessed.
When Civil Partnership was introduced in December 2005, over 16,000 Civil Partnerships were registered in the UK within the first year. Up to the extension of marriage to same sex couples on 29th March 2014, around 6,000 couples each year were registering Civil Partnerships in the UK and, by the end of 2012, 60,454 had been registered. It remains to be seen how many same sex couples will choose to marry rather than enter into a Civil Partnership, or elect to convert their Civil Partnerships in the future.
The Family Department at Hunters is well equipped to help all couples who intend to marry to take control over their own lives and prepare a pre-nuptial agreement. For those intending to convert their Civil Partnerships to marriage in the first wave expected before the end of 2014, it is time to start planning ahead to put a pre-nuptial agreement in place.
For more information, please contact the partner at Hunters having responsibility for your legal matters, or (for new enquiries) please contact a partner in the Family team.