Welcome News: Civil Partnership for mixed couples

7th January 2020

Not everyone wants to get married or believes in the concept of marriage or having a religious ceremony. Some people just want to have the opportunity to be recognised as being in a partnership which is committed and loving without the label of marriage.

With effect from 31st December 2019, mixed couples were able to enter into Civil Partnerships like same sex couples. What this does is give people the choice to decide how they wish to have their relationship recognised by the law. The Civil Partnership (Opposite-sex Couples) Regulations 2019 came into force on 2nd December 2019.

A civil partnership provides the same legal rights as a marriage in terms of pension benefits, tax benefits and inheritance and it also gives the couples equal footing as married couples on separation in respect of financial remedy.

This is a welcome change for those who are not religious and do not want to have a ceremony which has religious connotations or affiliation. Couples who choose to enter into a Civil Partnership can also refer to themselves as Civil Partners rather than husband and wife and they can, at a later stage decide to convert their Civil Partnership into a marriage.

Rather than a divorce, a Civil Partnership is dissolved, although the dissolution process is similar to that of a divorce, the terminologies are different. Instead of a Decree Nisi, you have a Conditional Order and instead of a Decree Absolute, you have a final Dissolution Order. Further like with same sex couples, the fact of adultery cannot be relied upon to bring a petition to dissolve a Civil Partnership.

It is also anticipated that the changes proposed in the no fault divorce Bill will also apply to couples in Civil Partnership allowing for a more amicable dissolution without the need to apportion blame.

It is with great delight that I share that the Ministry of Justice has announced that the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill will be reintroduced again in the House of Lords today 7th January 2020. It is now just a matter of time before the archaic divorce laws changes and ultimately make our lives as family lawyers easier when advising clients and focusing their minds on what is important i.e. any children of the family and resolving their affairs amicably.

If you would like to discuss Civil Partnerships as a mixed couple or same sex couple, do contact our team at any of our offices and we will be happy to answer any of your questions.

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