In what seems to have become an almost unprecedented season of change in family law this Autumn it has been announced today that mixed-sex couples in England and Wales now have the choice of marriage or Civil partnership.
Following a Supreme Court case in June the court held that to restrict civil partnerships to same sex couples was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights
Civil Partnerships, set up in 2004 were intended as a stepping stone to enable same sex couples to formalise their relationships but were short of marriage. That came in 2013 with the advent of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples ) Act. It was thought that civil partnerships would cease at that point in favour of same sex marriage but in fact a substantial number of couples continued to choose civil partnership instead of marriage.
Now couples, who may previously have simply lived together, have the option of a civil partnership too. This may help deal with the some of the enormous discrimination facing cohabiting couples, who often believe totally inaccurately, that they may acquire full ‘common law marriage’ rights after periods of cohabitation. Ask many family lawyers what area of law they would change given the opportunity and it’s improving the rights of cohabiting non married couples. At last, this is one step in the right direction.
Further Information & Legal Advice
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