Benefits and taxes
Unmarried same-sex couples are assessed jointly for benefits and taxes in the same way as opposite-sex couples. Cohabiting couples do not have the same rights as married couples or civil partners. There is no such thing as a ‘common law marriage’.
Property rights generally stay the same as they were before the relationship where a couple is not married or in a civil partnership. For example, if a person owns a house and moves their partner in but the relationship subsequently breaks down, the house will remain that of the owner and the partner will have limited claim on it.
Couples who do not want to have a civil partnership or get married, but wish to safeguard themselves, can make wills and perhaps sign written agreements about what belongs to each partner. This could then be used in any later disputes.
They should also consider having a Lasting Power of Attorney for both finance/property and health/welfare as well as Advance Directives. These can help couples deal with situations where one partner loses capacity to manage their own affairs, or is hospitalised. In these circumstances, an unmarried partner has limited rights.
For further information contact Stonewall's Information Service.