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Holly Smith: LGBTQ+ training at Birkett Long

Holly Smith
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Last week, Birkett Long received LGBTQ+ Awareness Training at our Colchester office. This training was provided by Tracy Martinez who works for Outhouse East, a local charity dedicated to offering support and information with regard to the LGBTQ+ community. ...

Tracey Dickens: LGBTQ+ training at Birkett Long

Tracey Dickens
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Birkett Long had some excellent training from Outhouse East, introducing us to the terminology the LGBTQ+ community wishes to use, and helping us to understand some of the prejudices and discrimination they face. It really helped me to understand the...

Transgender visibility and awareness

Tracy England
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A BBC story today has reported that demand for transgender awareness courses has risen by 50%. According to the Diversity Trust, this is due to changes in the law and increased visibility of trans people. I consider trans visibility to be a crucial issue....

The gay footballer Twitter account

David Feakins
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It’s amazing to think that, in 2019, there are no players who identify as LGBTQ+ in the top tiers of men’s football in the UK. Although former Aston Villa midfielder, Thomas Hitzlsperger, recently came out, he did not do so until after he had...

Contract termination: legal battle with Rugby Australia

David Feakins
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Israel Folau, a rugby player who was recently sacked by Rugby Australia following his homophobic comments made on social media, has had a controversial GoFundMe page shut down. Folau had his contract terminated by Rugby Australia in May, after he said,...

Same-sex families: so whose baby is it anyway?

Karen Johnson
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The number of same-sex families in the UK has been increasing steadily since 1996. The most common status of LGBT families is cohabitation followed by civil partnerships and then marriage. Of those families, 18,000 include dependent children. Parenthood is...

Supporting employees in the LGBT community

Julie Temple
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In recent times, gender pay, sexual harassment and especially mental health in the workplace have been under the spotlight for good reason and with positive effect. However, there is always more to be done and always other things which are just outside or...

Can a parent who gives birth be named as a father?

Lisa Collins
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In England and Wales, the law has always required the parent who gives birth to be registered as a mother. This is now being challenged by a transgender man. He was born a woman but had legally become a man before giving birth to his child.    ...

Essex Pride week & wills

Katey  Stephenson
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As it’s Essex Pride week, it is important to reflect on the laws that have provided equal legal footing for LGBT families. The introduction of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, the Civil Partnership Act 2004 and the Gender Recognition Act 2004...

How can collaborative law be used to help same sex couples separate?

Francesca Cozens
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Collaborative law offers same sex couples a chance to come to a mutual agreement about their separation.  In the collaborative law process, a couple instructs a solicitor each, but instead of negotiating with each other via letters, on the phone or in...

I'll be there for you: life interest trust wills

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This scenario may sound familiar… Ross and Carol were married and had one son, Ben. After 8 years of marriage Carol met Susan for whom she started to have feelings. Subsequently, Ross and Carol divorced with a clean break, and Carol and Susan later...

The 14th annual Essex Pride

Melanie Loxley
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The 14th annual Essex Pride is fast approaching this Saturday in Central Park, Chelmsford.  It comes not long after the Genderquake season on Channel 4, where a series of programmes explored gender fluidity and continued to educate and enlighten the...

What happens to your partner if you don't have a will?

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It’s so important as an LGBT+ couple to make sure your partner is provided for adequately in all circumstances. Here is an example of how a cohabitation can go wrong without an appropriate will: Mr Smith and Mr Jones have been in a relationship for...

Marriage or civil partnership?

Philip Hoddell
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Section 1 of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 is only seven words long, but it represents a milestone in the way in which same sex couples are treated by the law: “Marriage of same sex couples is lawful” reads the section. The act was...

Cohabiting couples - is the LGBT community at higher risk?

Francesca Cozens
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Cohabiting couples are the fastest growing family model in the UK. Cohabitation remains the most popular family model for same sex couples in the UK. If you have or are thinking of moving in with your partner what do you need to know? Are we common law...

Facts about wills and civil partnerships or marriage

Claire Read
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Entering into a civil partnership or marriage revokes a will. From the moment that you have signed the register you will no longer have a will and the automatic laws of intestacy apply  UNLESS:   You made a will in anticipation or expectation...

Great friendly service in plain English, whoever you are.

Claire Read
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On more than one occasion when writing wills and giving tax planning advice, my LBGT clients have said to me; ‘We were very nervous and thank you for being so friendly and understanding’. I found this comment unusual, not because I am not...

Same Sex Couples - the end of pension inequality

Melanie Loxley
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In Walker v Innospec Limited and others [2017] the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that legislation which allows employers to exclude same sex partners from spousal benefits paid into pension funds prior to December 2005 is discriminatory.  This...

Sexuality and sport

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When will this stop being an issue? Why can’t the UK lead the way? When will the rest of the World catch up? In a way, I feel that by writing this I’m contributing to the problem as, ultimately, we all want to get to a place where there...

Teething problems with same-sex marriage start to emerge

Lisa Collins
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It has been a while since my last blog ( read here ) but in it I raised the question, what would happen to civil partnerships now same-sex marriage was to become legal? There is still no clear answer but I suspect the issue is one currently at the forefront...

Same Sex Marriage - legal at last!

Lisa Collins
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On Wednesday, the long awaited Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill was granted royal assent making same sex marriage legal. The Bill is now in the process of becoming the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act and the first ceremonies are expected to take place before...

Gay marriage to become a reality

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I was extremely pleased to see the result of the recent parliamentary vote on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill which passed earlier this week. As a result of this it looks like same sex couples will now have the option to marry, as well as having the...

Online law advice or a friendly face?

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I sometimes feel that the internet is taking over the world. We can bank, shop, socialise and obtain information on every topic imaginable on line. How about obtaining legal advice via an “information hub” when your spouse has just left you,...

Is marriage the "gold standard for relationships?"

Lisa Collins
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A serving High Court Judge, Sir Paul Coleridge, has established a new independent charity, The Marriage Foundation, with the aim of championing marriage as the “gold standard for relationships”. The charity was launched last week. Sir Paul, who...

Government takes control of Child Support Agency

Philip Hoddell
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The government is proposing to take over the Child Support Agency and make it part of the Department for Work and Pensions. The CSA has been criticised by pretty much everyone since it was first introduced nearly 20 years ago. Notorious for its incorrect...

Civil partnership - will I be treated in the same way as a married couple on dissolution?

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We finally had the first substantial decision about how to divide civil partners’ assets following dissolution on 29 March. The Court of Appeal said that the fact the case deals with the dissolution of a civil partnership rather than a divorce is of...

Do children suffer when IVF arrangements go wrong between two pairs of same sex partners?

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Mr Justice Hedley certainly thought so in a case he dealt with a few months ago. I think it provides a salutary lesson for those considering a parenting arrangement with another couple. The birth mother and her civil partner advertised for a male couple...

Solicitors and gay parenting

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I have just finished reading an article written by a solicitor about his experience of becoming a first time parent, via international surrogacy. He explains that he had not come out at work before the surrogacy process started. When he did, whilst his firm...

I am leaving my wife for another man

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As a family lawyer who deals with same sex and opposite sex partners, I help men and women who have left their spouse to enter into a same sex relationship. In some cases, the aggrieved spouse had no idea and was particularly hurt by the circumstances. In...

Bert and Ernie - Forever Friends?

Lisa Collins
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It’s been a few years since I last tuned in to watch the popular children’s television programme, Sesame Street, although after hearing the news last week I am curious as to what I may be missing! An online petition has been started to have Bert...

Does everybody have the right to a double bed?

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The hotel that denied a gay couple a double room for the night has now been told that this was unlawful discrimination. The hotel owners argued that they did not refuse the couple the room because they were gay but because of their views as Christians about...