Rights and responsibilities overview

Civil partnerships confer a number of rights and responsibilities on same-sex couples. Below is an overview:

Upon registering:

  • Joint treatment for income-related benefits 
  • Joint state pension benefits 
  • Ability to gain parental responsibility for each other's children 
  • Recognition for immigration purposes 
  • Exemption from testifying against each other in court

Upon dissolution:

  • Fair arrangements for property division
  • Residence arrangements
  • Appropriate contact with children

Rights and responsibilities following the death of one partner include: 

  • Right to register the death of a partner
  • Right to claim a survivor pension
  • Eligibility for bereavement benefits
  • Compensation for fatal accidents or criminal injuries
  • Recognition under inheritance and intestacy rules
  • Tenancy succession rights


It is worth noting that the registrar will ask the person registering the death questions about whether the deceased was married or in a civil partnership, the date of birth of the surviving spouse or civil partner and the name and occupation of the civil partner, where the deceased was in a civil partnership or was a surviving civil partner.  This could have implications for couples who do not wish to be open about their civil partnership.


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