• On 2 October 2018 the Prime Minister Theresa May announced that all couples in England and Wales will be able to enter into a Civil Partnership as an alternative to getting married, regardless of their gender. Previously, Civil Partnerships were only available to couples in same-sex relationships. However, following the landmark ruling of the Supreme Court in June of this year, which found that the Civil Partnership Act 2004 was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, the Government has agreed to change the law.

    Allowing mixed-sex couples to enter into Civil Partnerships will enable them to formalise their relationships and gain certain legal protections which would previously only have been available to them upon marriage.

    Many cohabiting couples do not wish to marry for a variety of reasons but often they are under the mistaken belief that they will be financially protected on the breakdown of their relationships as a “common-law spouse”.

    There is no such thing as a common-law husband or wife and finding they have little or no legal protection when a relationship breaks down can come as a shock to many cohabiting couples, particularly when they have had children in the relationship.

    Once the Government’s plan to widen the remit of Civil Partnerships has passed onto the statute books cohabiting couples will have another option, aside from marriage, available to them to gain vital legal protection and benefits.

    This content is correct at time of publication

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