On the 13th March 2014 the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 came into force in the United Kingdom.
This act allows same sex couples to marry and have the same rights and opportunities as heterosexual couples. These rights extend across the whole aspect of marriage providing the same home and financial rights as a heterosexual couple. Some of the main rights include;
- Home Rights – Allows a non-owning spouse to remain in occupation of the marital home
- Tax benefits – A married couple tax allowance can be claimed
Converting a Partnership
Couples registered in a civil partnership have been able to convert these into marriages since December 2014. A marriage certificate is issued showing both the original civil partnership date and the date that the conversion took place.
The conversion itself does not require a ceremony to take place. However, the couple can choose to hold a ceremony in the register office or any approved building/organisation. In order to covert the partnership you will need to contact your local registry office and sign a declaration in the presence of the Superintendent Registrar or their deputy. In order to complete this process you will need to bring with you your;
- Birth certificate
- Photo ID (Passport or driving licence)
- Proof of address (recent utility bill or a bank statement)
In order to establish parental rights someone must first have parental responsibility which can exist automatically or can be established through an agreement or court order. Parental responsibility is defined in the Children Act 1989 as, “all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent has in relation to the child and their property”. This means that a person can make decisions about a child’s health, welfare and education.
Automatic parental responsibility is given to the biological mother of the child and the biological father when listed on the child’s birth certificate. If someone does not automatically have Parental Responsibility, it can be obtained by either;
- Entering into an agreement with the person or persons who have Parental Responsibility using the C(PRA1) form or;
- By obtaining a parenting order through the court using the C1 form.
- Sadly, sometimes a marriage comes to an end and can put people in difficult situations. This is where the difference occurs between heterosexual marriages and same-sex marriages as the grounds and reasoning for separation differs. These differences include;
- Annulment grounds - Non-consummation of marriage cannot be used as a means of voiding the marriage.
- Divorce grounds – Adultery cannot be used as a ground for separation and would have to be logged as unreasonable behaviour instead.
If you require any further advice regarding the rights of same sex couples, the Health Assured advisory team are available to assist.