The Civil Partnership (Jersey) Law 2012 marked the beginning of Jersey’s legal recognition of same sex relationships. This was a welcome development for many of us and we are now awaiting various amendments to this law that are due to come in at the end of this year. Slowly, we have seen the law trying to catch up to reflect our more diverse society. To date, same sex couples have had to wait to be treated in the same way as heterosexual couples. It is changing and there is still so much work to do.
Faced with the possibility of separation, for civil partners, there is a concern, amongst many that they will not have the same rights as married partners when it comes to the dissolution of their partnership in Jersey. This is not the case. The Civil Partnership (Jersey) Law 2012 ensures that same sex couples will be treated legally in the same way when it comes to dissolving their union. It allows the Court to dissolve the partnerships and consider both the arrangements for the children and financial division based on the usual considerations that are seen in divorces. In many ways the dissolution of a civil partnership mirrors divorce proceedings in Jersey. Sadly, the issue of parental responsibility remains absent in the law for civil partnerships and so it is still only the biological mother who gets PR automatically meaning any other parent will need to apply to adopt their child or obtain a residence order. This is not one of the amendments to the Civil Partnership (Jersey) Law 2012 and so it is unclear when Jersey will provide this basic right to same sex couples.
We are reassured that the law continues to evolve. We are frustrated that it has taken this long. However, there have also been developments in the areas of both property law and succession law in Jersey recognising civil partnerships in those areas. This shows a desire and a determination of society in Jersey to work towards equality.
If you would like to know more – please contact our team on 875875 or fill out the form below.