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Landmark civil partnership ruling suggests equal rights for same-sex couples

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A landmark victory for a civil partner suggests that same-sex couples have the same rights as heterosexual partners under family law.

The long-running case of Roocroft v Ball came to a close recently, after an Appeals Court Judge ruled that a woman who found that her ex-civil partner had hidden assets worth millions of pounds during the dissolution of their relationship was granted an ‘unfair settlement’.

The Court heard that Ms Helen Roocroft first split from her property tycoon partner, Carol Ainscow, in 2009, following the breakdown of an 18-year relationship.

Ms Ainscow subsequently passed away in 2013 and, shortly after her death, evidence suggested that the property investor had misled both the Courts and Ms Roocroft about her true assets during the dissolution of their Civil Partnership.

To no avail, the claimant, Ms Roocroft, had previously argued in the lower Family Court and the High Court that she had received an ‘unfair settlement’ due to Ms Ainscow’s failure to disclose the true nature of her assets.

Taking her case to the Court of Appeal, Ms Roocroft said that the original settlement should be overturned and that a more accurate assessment of the deceased’s assets should be undertaken.

A Judge ruled that Ms Roocroft had submitted significant evidence to prove that “the deceased’s income at the time of consent order was three times that which she had stated in her Statement of Information” when their civil partnership was legally ended in 2013.

The Court of Appeal agreed to reassess her settlement – and the case is now due to be re-listed with the High Court at a later date, which is yet to be disclosed.