Biggest marriage shake up in 200 years


6 February 2018

By Farhad Islam

Plans are afoot for heterosexual couples to be given the right to enter into civil partnerships after the biggest shakeup of marriage laws since the 1800s.

The home office said it would review the operation of civil partnerships – which are currently only available to homosexual couples – “so the difference in treatment in the current system is resolved”. Civil partnerships in England and Wales were introduced as an initial step  on the road to legalizing same sex marriage. Demand fell after same sex marriage was legalised in England and Wales in 2014.

But heterosexual couples who do not want a traditional marriage have argued that there is no equality in the law as they do not have the choice of a civil partnership. Ministers are planning to publish a consultation on allowing men and women to enter into civil partnerships to determine the effect on other areas of legislation such as divorce law.

Other changes :

Couples will no longer be given a marriage certificate on the day of their wedding. They will not sign an official register on the day. After the wedding, they will be obliged to take a completed “marriage schedule” to their local register office where their details will be entered into a database.

For the first time, a mother’s name and occupation will be put on their child’s marriage certificate alongside the father’s details. These will be the first changes to marriage registration since 1837.

If you are considering entering or leaving a civil partnership or need advice on co-habitation agreements please contact us for a free initial consultation on either 01245 228106 or email

This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.