Civil partnerships - your rights
There are some important financial implications to registering as civil partners, or living together in a same-sex relationship since 5 December 2005.
Since December 2005 civil partners have had most of the same state pension rights as husbands and have been treated the same as husbands and wives since 2010, when the treatment of men and women was equalised. For further information you should contact the office that deals with your pension.
Civil partners are also entitled to a survivor’s pension from their civil partner’s contracted-out occupational or personal pension scheme, public service pension scheme or non-contracted out scheme which currently pays survivor benefits to widows and widowers.
Take a look at the Pension Service website to find out more or to contact the team.
Civil partners will be treated in the same way as married people for all tax purposes, including inheritance tax and capital gains tax.
Contact your local tax office for more information, or take a look at the HMRC website.
Social security benefits and tax credits
The income of a civil partner or a cohabiting same-sex partner is taken into account when calculating entitlement to income related benefits (eg income support) and tax credits. This means they'll be treated the same as a married couple and a cohabiting same-sex couple.
If you're living together in a same-sex relationship, regardless of whether you register as civil partners, you'll need to tell our benefit office if you're in receipt of income-related benefits, or the tax credits office if you claim tax credits. Contact the benefit enquiry line on 0800 882200 or the tax credits helpline on 0845 300 3900 for more information. Alternatively you can visit the website for the Department of Work and Pensions.
Children and parenting
Some same-sex couples have caring responsibilities for children. The law will recognise the role of both civil partners in respect of a child living in their household.
Since the Adoption and Children Act 2002 came into force on 30 December 2005, a person is able to acquire parental responsibility for their civil partner’s child. They can do this with the agreement of their civil partner, as long as the civil partner has parental responsibility themselves. If the child’s other parent also has parental responsibility, both parents must agree. Parental responsibility can also be acquired on application to the court.
In addition, under the Adoption and Children Act, same-sex couples, including civil partners, will be able to apply to adopt a child jointly.
Civil partners will have a duty to provide maintenance for each other and for any children of the civil partnership.
Since 5 December 2005, civil partners who are parents have been treated in the same way as married partners for Child Support. Also, parents living with a same-sex partner even when they haven't formed a civil partnership will be treated in the same way as parents who live together with an opposite sex partner, but aren't married. Depending on your circumstances, this could affect the amount of maintenance paid for your child.
For further information you should contact the Child Support Agency on 08457 133133 or visit their website. You could also contact the Child Benefit helpline on 0845 302 1444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Other rights and responsibilities
In the workplace
Employers are required to treat their civil partner employees in the same way as married employees in similar circumstances. For example, if a company makes private health insurance available to the spouse of an employee, it will also have to be made available to employees’ civil partners where the employee occupies a similar job. More information for employers on civil partnership can be found by accessing the ACAS website.
Leave to remain in the UK
Civil partners of British citizens and persons settled here will be able to apply for an initial period of two years leave to remain in the United Kingdom. If they're still in the civil partnership at the end of that period, they'll be entitled to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK.