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Heterosexual couples will be allowed the right to choose between marriage or entering into civil partnerships

14 October 2018

The Government recently announced that heterosexual couples will be allowed the right to choose between marriage or entering into civil partnerships. The Supreme Court, in June this year ruled in favour of Rebecca Steinfeld, 37, and Charles Keidan, 41. The decision came as the Court concluded that the Civil Partnership Act 2004 was not in line with the European Convention on Human Rights.

Civil Partnerships came into existence in 2004 in order to allow same sex couples the right to have similar legal protection to that of a marriage between heterosexual couples. Since 2004 gay marriage has been legalised and same sex couples have therefore had the right to choose between marriage or civil partnership. The announcement therefore means that heterosexual couples now have the right to choose between marriage or civil partnerships.

When the last comes into effect, it will mean that in the event of the breakdown of a civil partnership for heterosexual couples, the law in relation to dissolution of the civil partnership, will be applied in the same way as it is for gay couples in a civil partnership and for marriages.

If you, or anyone you know, is considering entering a civil partnership and they wish to protect their assets in the event of the breakdown of their partnership. They may therefore wish to enter into a pre-nuptial agreement and should seek legal advice.

Our family department offers a wide range of advice in respect of cohabitation agreements, pre nuptial and post nuptial agreements, divorce and financial matters arising frim the breakdown of marriage and civil partnerships and disputes regarding children.

Ellisons’ Construction and Development Briefing Highlights Cautious Outlook for Region’s Property Market

08 October 2018

A new survey of property professionals undertaken at our first Construction and Development Briefing, has shown that 57.4% of respondents are more cautious about the sector now than they were 12 months ago.

Uncertainty surrounding Brexit, concerns that the National Planning Policy Framework is not fit for purpose and demand for homes outstripping supply could all be factors in this cautious outlook.

The Construction and Development Seminar supported these concerns, with expert speakers Karen Syrett, Colchester Borough Council and Peter Brady, Planning Lawyer both sharing thoughts and opinions on the current state of the housing market and planning system.

Despite these issues, an impressive 58.5% of survey respondents stated that the construction of new homes remains a key business driver. When asked about the importance of their firms environmental responsibility, 88.8% of delegates said that they put great emphasis on being sustainable and environmentally responsible (rated from 7 to 10).

It was also recorded that preparations are in place for any potential future downturn, with more than 85% planning or implementing a strategic safeguard.

The event that took place at Weston Homes Community Stadium in Colchester was chaired by Ian Seeley, Associate at Ellisons Solicitors, and was attended by just under 150 delegates from the property development and construction sector.

Ian Seeley, said: “This was our first construction and development briefing event, and it was wonderful to see so many faces in the audience. When we decided to host the event, we never anticipated it being so well attended. I would like to say thank you to all the delegates, to Karen from Colchester Borough Council, and Peter Brady for presenting such interesting insight.”

Dividing pensions on divorce

03 October 2018

A pension can be a valuable source of funds when dividing assets and meeting the needs of the parties, upon divorce. It has been reported in the media that Age Concern has voiced concerns that women, in particular, are unaware of whether their husband has a pension, the value of that pension and/or that they may be entitled to a share of the pension in the event of a divorce.

It is important to note that the provisions relating to pensions apply to all petitions for divorce or nullity, filed after 1 December 2000, but not judicial separation. The same principles apply to civil partnership cases.

The Court deals with pensions in a number of ways, namely;

  1. Pension sharing and attachment
  2. Pension apportionment
  3. Pension offsetting

The Court will require an up to date CEV (Cash Equivalent Value) when considering an application for any of the above Orders. It is strongly advisable to request the CEV from the pension provider, as soon as an application is considered. Pension providers can be slow to respond to enquiries which may cause a delay in matters being resolved in a timely manner.

There are many issues to consider when dealing with the financial implications of a divorce. It is essential that you obtain the correct legal advice at any early stage, to ensure that this difficult period proceeds as smoothly as possible.

For further information, please contact Nicola Coates.