Dissolution of Civil Partnerships: Equality before the law...
The Court of Appeal has confirmed that the financial remedies
available on dissolution of civil partnership are the same as upon
divorce. This provides equal treatment by the courts regardless of
the form of the parties relationship. The case of Mr.
Lawrence and Mr. Gallagher came before the Court of Appeal after
the High Court judge awarded Mr. Gallagher, an actor, a little less
than £1.7 million of their assets totaling £4.1 million. Mr.
Lawrence, an equity analyst at JP Morgan, appealed against this
award as he had provided more of the assets and income before
during and after their relationship. The Court of Appeal
reduced the award to Mr. Gallagher, but Mr. Justice Thorpe made it
clear that the court treated the case in the same way it would have
done had the parties been married:
"The fact that the claim arises from
the dissolution of a civil partnership rather than a marriage is of
little moment since it is common ground that the language of
schedule 5 to the Civil Partnership Act 2004 is identical to the
language of s.25 Matrimonial Causes Act".
At the same time as the courts are recognizing this equality
before the law, the government is looking to push forward with
legislation to create even greater equality. They have issued
proposals to legalise same-sex marriage. An all-party poll of
MPs has found 56% of them thought the proposals would succeed. Many
of the MPs did not think the matter was of significant importance
to their constituents. Nonetheless the government has made it clear
that they will press ahead with the legislation. The question under
consultation is "how" the changes can be made not "whether" they
will be made.
Religious leaders and Conservative MPs have expressed concerns
at the governments plans. David Burrowes MP commented "…there is a
significant number of Members of Parliament, particularly
Conservative Members of Parliament, who are concerned about whether
we should legislate on marriage". According to the survey
commissioned by the Coalition for Marriage three out of five
Conservative MPs have doubts the legislation will go
If you need advice on dissolving a civil partnership or
on setting up a pre-Civil Partnership agreement, our specialist
family law solicitors can help. Complete our contact form, or
contact us on 0800 422 0243 for more