Civil partnership and marriage
April 29, 2015
The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 legalised marriages between same sex couples from March 2014.
What is the difference between a Civil Partnership and a Marriage?
There is very little difference between a marriage and a Civil Partnership. However there are some differences when looking at their legal rights.
- Married couples cannot call themselves civil partners for legal purposes and likewise civil partners cannot call themselves married again for legal purposes;
- Marriages are solemnized by saying a prescribed form of words. Whereas Civil Partnerships are registered by signing the civil partnership documents, no words are required to be spoken;
- Marriages can be conducted through either a civil ceremony, or a religious ceremony if the religious organisation has agreed to solemnize marriages of same sex couples according to its rites. However the formation of a civil partnership is an entirely civil event;
A marriage can be annulled for the following reasons:
- If either party did not validly consent to the marriage;
- If either party was suffering from a mental disorder of such a kind as to render them unfit for marriage;
- If at the time of the marriage the respondent was suffering from a venereal disease in a communicable form;
- If the respondent was pregnant at the time of the marriage by some person other than the petitioner.
- A civil partnership cannot be annulled if at the time of the marriage the respondent was suffering from a venereal disease in a communicable form;
- Non –consummation of marriage is not a ground for annulment in same sex marriages or in Civil Partnerships;
- Marriage is ended by divorce, by obtaining a decree absolute. Whereas Civil partnerships are ended by a dissolution order;
- Adultery only applies to marriages. The definition of adultery is sexual intercourse with someone of the opposite sex outside of the marriage;
- If a civil partner dies then the pension that the other partner receives will be lower and will last for a shorter period of time;
It is very important to ensure that you are fully aware of which contract you are entering into. They may seem similar if you were to attend a Registry Office but they can impact on your legal rights. AFG LAW can advise clients in respect of these matters.