marriage. It's become one of the great political issues of modern times. The Civil
Partnership Act 2004, which came into effect in the UK in December 2005, marked
a big step forward. Figures show that by July last year, more than 100,000
people had entered a civil partnership.
of the great advantages of a civil partnership is that same-sex couples are
entitled to the same financial rights as married couples under the eyes of the
law - for example, the same rights on things such as property, inheritance tax,
pension benefits and social security.
although the move was welcomed by millions as a step in the right direction,
there are still objections that legislation hasn't gone far enough. Some might
see civil partnerships as essentially marriage in everything but name, but for
others, the fact that gay couples still cannot legally marry is a bar to total equality - as is the fact that a man and a
woman can't legally have a civil partnership.
whatever our opinions on the marriage vs. civil partnership debate, it seems
there's one thing we're firmly 'wedded' to in the UK, regardless of gender or
sexuality: our bank accounts.
in July 2012, Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls claimed that people are more likely to
get divorced than switch their bank account. This was based on figures from the
Independent Banking Commission's Final Report, which indicated that, on
average, account holders switch every 26 years!
is a bit of a shame, as there's no particular reason the bank account you've
had for years should be the right account for you today. It pays to look around
and find out what's out there. One thing that could really help couples -
whatever their sexuality - might be a joint bank account.
don't have to be married to open an account together," said Ian Williams
provider of both this analysis – and an innovative alternative to a standard
bank account. "You don't have to be in a civil partnership. You don't even
have to be a couple: plenty of flatmates, for example, share an account for the
sheer convenience it provides.
all, people who live together will always have shared bills to deal with, from
rent payments to utility bills, furniture to repairs. Having a single common
'pot' can make things a lot simpler: if they each put in a pre-agreed amount
every month, they'll know the money's there when it's needed for things that
benefit them both.
with any partnership, of course, a joint account is something you'd need to
enter with eyes wide open. What happens if the account goes overdrawn, for
example? What if one of you moves out, loses their job, or runs into serious
"These are questions you should answer before
you decide to open an account together. It'll give you an opportunity to find out
about your legal rights and responsibilities - and come to an agreement about
how you'd handle the most likely scenarios.
"So really, money management is
like so many other aspects of two people's life together: the more thought they
put into it ahead of time, the more likely they are to get that 'happily ever
after' they're looking for."