Contact our Family Law Team on 01225 462871 or by email.
Since December 2019, opposite and same-sex couples can choose between marriage or entering a civil partnership. For most couples, there’s no hesitation in knowing which is right for them, and from a legal perspective, there are no significant differences. There are, however, a few subtle differences.
How to describe your relationship
For legal purposes, civil partners cannot describe themselves as married, and vice versa.
Entering a marriage or civil partnership
While a civil partnership is entirely a civil occasion, marriages may be conducted in a religious or civil setting. If you are getting married, your union is solemnised by using a prescribed form of words. In contrast, your civil partnership is registered by signing a civil partnership document; no words need to be spoken. However, many couples entering a civil partnership choose to use a form of words in addition to signing the document.
In both cases:
- seven days’ notice is required.
- the details of the marriage/civil partnership are recorded in an electronic register.
- the names of each party’s parents are recorded.
Ending your relationship
Should your relationship break down, marriage is ended by divorce and civil partnership by dissolution. Since the introduction of no-fault divorce on 6th April 2022, the process is essentially the same for both. You can only obtain a dissolution or divorce after you have been in your civil partnership or married for at least one year.
Should you decide to separate, we strongly advise that you take legal advice at the earliest opportunity to discuss finances and arrangements for children.