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The First Mixed Sex Couples Enter Into Civil Partnerships 02 March 2020

The start of 2020 marked the start of a change in the law regarding civil partnerships - and now same-sex couples can register civil partnerships in England and Wales.

Civil partnerships give your relationship legal recognition, and for the first time since 2014 when the law allowed same-sex couples to marry or enter into a civil partnership, heterosexual couples can enjoy the same rights and responsibilities as marriage with the option of civil partnership.

Civil Partnerships & The Law

It has been legal for same-sex couples to choose whether to get married or enter into a civil partnership, since March 2014. However, mixed-sex couples did not have the option of civil partnerships open to them - until now.

The law changed following a ruling by the Supreme Court in 2018 in favour of a mixed-sex couple who'd taken their case after feeling that the law was discriminating towards heterosexual couples. The judges ruled in their favour and declared the current UK law was indeed discriminatory and that all couples, whether same- or mixed-sex, should be able to enter into a civil partnership.

What Does A Civil Partnership Provide?

A civil partnership gives couples the same legal rights as marriage, when it comes to matters like home ownership, tax, inheritance and next-of-kin rights.

However, civil partnerships and marriage do have some differences, including the fact:

  • Civil partnerships are not recognised in all countries
  • There is no need for a ceremony and you only need to sign the civil partnership document
  • Civil partnerships can be registered at any Registrar's office or any venue already approved for holding civil marriages
  • Adultery does not count as a reason for ending a civil partnership

Civil partnerships provide legal and financial protection to both partners if the relationship ends. Some mixed-sex couples like that there is no religious associations with civil partnerships, as there is with marriage, and the fact they offer an alternative to those who dislike marriage as an institution and all its links to patriarchy, amongst other things.

Is A Civil Partnership For You?

The law has changed to give mixed-sex couples the option to enter into a civil partnership and to have the same legal rights and responsibilities as marriage. Although only same-sex couples will be able to convert their civil partnership into marriage, should they so wish, this is likely to change in the future.

If you and your partner are considering entering into a civil partnership, our specialist family law solicitors will be happy to advise you on whether it is right for you - tailoring the advice based on your individual situation, circumstances and plans for the future.

To speak to one of our specialist solicitors about registering a civil partnership, please contact us at our Chorlton office on 0161 860 7123 or at our Failsworth office on 0161 681 4005 or email or