Civil partnership for heterosexual couples from a dream to a legal right

The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom in a recent case awarded a landmark judgement. It permitted a heterosexual couple to establish a civil partnership instead of a marriage. Civil partnerships were reserved for only same-sex couples before they were allowed to marry under the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013. The Act came into force on 29 March 2014 and It allowed the same-sex couples to enter a marriage and it also allowed the civil partners to convert their partnership into a marriage from 10 December 2014.

The Supreme Court held that it would be discriminatory against the heterosexual couples if they are not allowed to establish a civil partnership. This judgement has paved the way for heterosexual couples, who may have a genuine objection to marriage but may have committed to a long-term relationship, to establish a civil partnership. The choice between marriage or civil partnership was not available for heterosexual couple before this judgment. The legal and technical difference between the marriage and civil partnership is explained below

MarriageCivil Partnership
Legally they are Married or married couple but not civil partnersAs a civil partner, they do not hold the status of a married couple
Their marriage is solemnizedCivil partnership is entered into a register by a simple signature and there is no requirement of solemnization
The marriage can be conducted through the civil or religious ceremonyOnly civil ceremony
Marriage requires a notice of Marriage by each party in the local registration district where they have been living for the last 7 daysCivil partnership requires a notice of partnership by each party anywhere in the local authority where they have been living for the last 7 days
Recorded on paper/Hard copyRecorded electronically/Electronic register
Marriage certificate requires only the name of the father of the bride and groomIn civil partnership, the name of both father and mother of the civil partners is required
Death, annulment and Divorce ends the marriageDeath, annulment and Dissolution ends the civil partnership


Rights of Civil Partners

Civil partners have similar rights to married couples.

  • Each partner is obliged to make reasonable financial contributions for the welfare of both during the subsistence of the civil partnership.
  • Upon dissolution or annulment of the civil partnership, each partner can apply to the court for relevant financial orders such as an order for lump sum payment, pension sharing, property transfer, and maintenance for themselves and for any child or children of the family.
  • Civil partner is treated in a similar way as a spouse or former spouse with regards to an application made under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
  • Civil partners enjoy the right not to be evicted from the family home.
  • A civil partner is entitled to acquire parental responsibility in respect of the child or children of the other civil partner.

For further advice and assistance please contact our experienced family and care proceeding lawyers for reliable and high-value legal advice.


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