The Civil Partnership Act 2004, came into force on 5 December 2005.
The legislation created a new legal status of 'civil partner', for same-sex couples who choose to register their partnership. Doing so will allow them to be treated on a consistent basis with married couples in a wide range of legal and financial areas.
Civil partners now assume both rights and responsibilities, in such areas as:
- social security
- employment and pension benefits
- tax and tax credits
- life assurance
- recognition under the intestacy rules
- access to compensation following a fatal accident
- a duty to provide reasonable maintenance for their partner and any children of the family.
Changes to the tax system
Chancellor Gordon Brown announced in the 2005 Budget that the Government would legislate to ensure that civil partners are treated the same as married couples for tax purposes. Tax charges and reliefs and anti-avoidance rules now apply equally to married couples and civil partners.