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Gerald Wilson, Barrister, Tanfield Chambers. It is just over a year since the first civil partnerships were registered. For many it will be a very happy anniversary. But, sadly, for some couples it will mark the first time they can apply for a dissolution and for some lawyers the first time they have really had to get to grips with the new law. The statutory provisions for civil partnership are virtually identical to those for marriage. Upon dissolution, the courts financial powers in civil partnership are the same (eg the Civil Partnership Act 2004 (CPA 2004), Sch 5 mirrors the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (MCA 1973), Part II); all other statutory provisions regarding marriage are also rehearsed in other provisions of the CPA 2004. The Family Proceedings Rules 1991 (SI 1991/1247) apply to civil partnership and the forms used are either shared with marriage or duplicated. Yet the application of those powers is likely to be the most immediate and contentious problem for practitioners: will the courts use them in the same way? How far will decisions in matrimonial cases be authoritative? See January  Fam Law for the full article.
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