Legal & Finance: If You're Not Married There Are No Rights

Article excerpt

Heterosexual couples who are co-habiting, but don't want to get married, will be denied the new rights of same sex partnerships.

For them, marriage is the only option if they want the full deal, Christopher Rudge, an associate at Black Country law firm George Green, has warned.

He said: 'Legal recognition of same sex partnerships will particularly help long term partners, who, as they have previously had no legal status, might have found themselves cut out of making key decisions about health or children, or of inheriting property or receiving pensions.'

It would give them more or less in the same position as married couples.

But, cautioned Mr Rudge, who is based in George Green's Cradley Heath offices, that was not the case for heterosexual co-habitees.

He went on: 'Some people believed that this Act would provide an alternative to marriage for opposite sex partnerships, who wanted further legal benefits and protection. However, the Civil Partnership Act applies only to same sex couples.

'While opposite sex couples in long term partnerships have many more rights and greater legal protection than ever before, marriage is still the only option to fully safeguard them and their dependents, especially in the event of the death of one of the partners. …