The Civil Partnership Act 2004 constitutes one of the most significant pieces of family legislation for several years. The underlying aim of the legislation is to permit couples of the same sex to form registered civil partnerships, thereby creating a new legal status for such couples. Once registered, they acquire a package of rights and responsibilities which, subject to key differences, will place them on the same footing as married couples.
Major provisions contained in the Act include: * Formation of civil partnership by registration * Formal dissolution of civil partnership which has broken down irretrievably * Grounds on which a civil partnership can be declared a nullity * Financial effects of dissolution, including arrangements for property division, pensions and tenancy succession rights * Ability of registered partners to acquire parental responsibility for each other's children and entitlement to apply for adoption, residence and contact orders * Recognition under inheritance and intestacy rules Civil Partnership: The New Law provides an authoritative commentary, highlighting areas of potential difficulty and offering practical guidance and will be essential reading for all family lawyers, housing lawyers and also chancery practitioners dealing with inheritance claims.
Martin Downs, Barrister, 1 Crown Office Row, Temple, London Mark Harper, Partner, Withers LLP, London Katharine Landells, Solicitor, Withers LLP, London Gerald Wilson, Tanfield Chambers, 2-5 Warwick Court, London