What is the difference between Marriage and Civil Partnership?

With the announcement in October 2018 from the Government to introduce civil partnerships for mixed sex couples, we take a look at the difference between marriage and civil partnerships.

The legislation governing civil partnerships came into force in 2005 and was intended to provide legal recognition in respect of the relationship between a same-sex couple whilst confirming additional rights and responsibilities.

Until the announcement from the Government comes into effect, Civil partnerships are not currently available to mixed-sex couples.

In 2014, there was an extension of marriage to allow same-sex couples the right to marry. Those couples who had previously formed a civil partnership were given the right to convert their civil partnership to marriage via an administrative procedure.

Due to the intention behind civil partnerships, there remains little fundamental difference between these and marriage. However, there are subtle differences which should be considered when making a decision;

• Married couples cannot refer to themselves as civil partners, nor can civil partners refer to themselves as married

• Marriage includes a ceremony where words are exchanged as a way of entering into a marriage. In respect of a civil partnership, there is no legal obligation to have a ceremony as the partnership is entered into by way of signing a civil partnership document

• The certificate for marriage only includes the name of the fathers of the parties in comparison to a civil partnership where the names of both parents to the parties are recorded

• A marriage can be annulled on the basis that one of the parties was suffering from a venereal disease in a communicable form (can be passed from one person to another)

• Adultery cannot be relied upon in a civil partnership dissolution

If you are going through a separation, whether you are married or have a civil partner, Howells can help you through the process and help you rebuild for the future.

For more information see Divorce and Separation or Civil Partnerships or call to speak to one of our expert team on 0114 249 6666, 01709 364 000 or 01226 805 190.