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.