Civil partnership or marriage? Nowadays any couple can choose, it’s not just same-sex partners.

What’s the difference between a Civil Partnership and Marriage? Would you prefer to be legally united but not married?

Did you know that in 2019 the Civil Partnership (opposite Sex Couples) Regulation 2019 allowed opposite sex partners to also enter into civil partnerships. This made everything equal for opposite-sex and same-sex couples. As of December 31st 2019 any couple could enter into a civil partnership.

Why do people get married or become civil partners?

For some, entering into a civil partnership is a modern alternative to the pomp and ceremony that a marriage can create. A civil partnership ties a couple financially and gives them more rights than if they were simply living together. Being in a “common-law” scenario is actually a myth.

The myth of the Common Law Marriage

The changes since 2000

Civil Partnerships were introduced in the early 2000’s by the Civil Partnership Act 2004 for same-sex couples. This act “bridged the gap” before the law around marriage was changed. Same-sex couples needed some rights if they were in a serious relationship. The act finally enabled same-sex couples to form a legal bond similar to a marriage.

Divorce and dissolution – what’s the difference?

In 2013 the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 was brought into play allowing same-sex couples to finally marry. This meant that same-sex couples could choose whether to marry or enter into a civil partnership.

So, if you are in an opposite-sex or same-sex relationship, you have the same options to legally tie yourselves. You can choose to either marry or enter into a civil partnership.

Civil partnership v marriage

There are some differences between marriage and a civil partnership. If you are considering tying a knot of some sort, it is worth weighing up all the options with a family solicitor. There is further information from the Citizens Advice Bureau.

  • If a person in a civil partnership commits adultery, this is not a factor which can be relied upon for establishing that the relationship has irretrievably broken down. It is only in marriage that this can be used. Saying that, adultery cannot be used in marriage for a same-sex couple, unless one partner has sex with someone of the opposite sex.
  • If you are entering into a Civil Partnership you cannot define your relationship as a marriage. You are not “married”.  You are in a civil partnership for legal reasons.
  • When a couple get married, the marriage certificate only details the name of the parties fathers. In a civil partnership the names of both parents of each party are named.
  • To be married, a couple exchange spoken words or vows. A civil partnership is formed when both parties have signed the civil partnership document in the presence of a registrar and two witnesses.

The legal steps you need to take in divorce or dissolution

  • Entering into a civil partnership does not require a ceremony and it is recorded electronically. Marriages are registered on paper.
  • Every country in different. Although opposite sex marriages are recognised internationally, the same cannot be said for same-sex marriages or for civil partnerships between any couple be that same-sex or opposite-sex.

Should you enter into at least “something”?

Talk to others about relationships, in our online chatroom

Just remember that if you are in a relationship for the long-term and making joint purchases, living together and maybe spending your money on your partners property, you may want to enter into some sort of legal relationship to protect yourself; Who knows what the future holds. Simply living together provides little or no protection. irrespective of the amount of time you have been cohabiting or indeed co-spending.

Our blogs are all about support and are not to be taken as up to date legal advice. We always recommend that you seek expert legal advice – you can find experts in various professions in The Hug Directory

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Written by The Group Hug


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