Fam­ily AF­FAIRS


Pride Life Magazine - - ADVERTORIAL -

What ser­vices can you of­fer gay men and women?

We are able to of­fer the same ser­vices to gay men and women. Th­ese in­clude: Pre-nup­tial and Post-nup­tial Agree­ments; Co-habi­ta­tion Agree­ments; Sep­a­ra­tion Agree­ments; Di­vorce; Dis­so­lu­tion of Civil Part­ner­ships; and Ad­vice in relation to chil­dren is­sues.

In ad­di­tion to those ser­vices we can of­fer within our Fam­ily Depart­ment, we are also able to pro­vide ad­di­tional ser­vices, such as: Pre­par­ing a Will; Change of Name; Buy­ing and sell­ing prop­erty; and Le­gal ad­vice on any civil is­sue.

Legally things have changed so much for LGBT peo­ple over the past 10 or years. What would you say has been the most sig­nif­i­cant change?

The most sig­nif­i­cant change was the in­tro­duc­tion of the Civil Part­ner­ship Act 2004. This gave same-sex cou­ples the op­tion of en­ter­ing into a Civil Part­ner­ship which pro­vides rights and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties sim­i­lar to a mar­riage. Civil part­ners are en­ti­tled to the same prop­erty rights, the same ex­emp­tions on in­her­i­tance tax and So­cial Se­cu­rity and pen­sion ben­e­fits as mar­ried cou­ples. They also have the abil­ity to get Parental Re­spon­si­bil­ity for a part­ner’s child, as well as rea­son­able main­te­nance, ten­ancy rights, in­surance and next of kin rights in hos­pi­tal and with doc­tors. There is also a process sim­i­lar to di­vorce which pro­vides the same rights to a party di­vorc­ing. This is known as Dis­so­lu­tion of Civil Part­ner­ship.

Same-sex mar­riage has now been le­galised and the first gay mar­riages in the UK are likely to take place early next year. What ad­van­tages – if any – does mar­riage have over a Civil Part­ner­ship?

Civil Part­ner­ship Cer­e­monies can­not in­clude re­li­gious ser­vices, mu­sic or sym­bols, and are for­bid­den to take place in re­li­gious venues. Now that same-sex mar­riage has been le­galised, same-sex cou­ples will have the op­tion to en­ter into ei­ther a mar­riage or a Civil Part­ner­ship, and have the choice of cer­e­monies and venues. The other prac­ti­cal dif­fer­ence is that if you are the civil part­ner of a male Peer or Knight of the Realm, you do not re­ceive a cour­tesy ti­tle which the spouse of a Peer or Knight of the Realm would be en­ti­tled to! Le­gal­i­sa­tion of same-sex mar­riage has there­fore brought about equal­ity.

Would you ad­vise a same-sex cou­ple em­bark­ing on a Civil Part­ner­ship or mar­riage to em­bark on a Pre-nup­tial Agree­ment? What are the ad­van­tages of such an agree­ment?

We would ad­vise any cou­ple em­bark­ing on a Civil Part­ner­ship or mar­riage to se­ri­ously con­sider a Pre-nup­tial Agree­ment. The ad­van­tage of such an agree­ment is that it will reg­u­late how fi­nances are dealt with upon sep­a­ra­tion. A Pre-nup­tial Agree­ment can be used to pro­tect as­sets. As the agree­ment reg­u­lates how fi­nances will be dealt with upon a break­down, it will help to avoid un­nec­es­sary dis­pute and costs be­ing in­curred upon sep­a­ra­tion. Sim­i­larly, cou­ples who choose to live to­gether should also con­sider en­ter­ing into a Co-habi­ta­tion Agree­ment which can pro­vide sim­i­lar pro­tect.

Mar­riages and Civil Part­ner­ships do fall apart. What are the ma­jor things to take into con­sid­er­a­tion when deal­ing with the break-up of re­la­tion­ships, and how can you help?

Mar­riages, Civil Part­ner­ships and re­la­tion­ships do fall apart. When any re­la­tion­ship breaks up there are ma­jor things to be con­sid­ered. Any chil­dren of the re­la­tion­ship will need to be con­sid­ered and ap­pro­pri­ate ar­range­ments made in re­spect of who the chil­dren live with and how much time they should spend with the other party. Fi­nances will also have to be con­sid­ered and in par­tic­u­lar how the as­sets, in­come and pen­sion should be dis­trib­uted in cases of mar­riages and Civil Part­ner­ships. We can as­sist by pro­vid­ing ad­vice on rights in re­spect of an ap­pro­pri­ate en­ti­tle­ment/set­tle­ment. We can also as­sist with the pro­ce­dural as­pects of the case in ob­tain­ing a Fi­nal Or­der or deal­ing with the di­vorce or dis­so­lu­tion pro­ceed­ings.

Alexan­der JLO Solic­i­tors, 2nd Floor, North­ern & Shell Tower, 4 Sels­don Way, London E14 9GL Tel: 020 7537 7000 london-law.co.uk info@london-law.co.uk

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