Supreme Court rules that cohabiting couple can have a Civil Partnership18-Jul-2018

By Susan Alexander, Consultant Solicitor, Family and Mediation

What does this mean?

 In the future heterosexual couples may have an alternative to getting married or just living together. Currently over 3 million cohabiting couples have no legal protection if they split or if one of them dies. Having a civil partnership does give more rights for example on your partner’s death. 

The Supreme Court action was launched by Ms Steinfeld and Mr Keidan, who cohabit and have two children. They had tried to enter into a civil partnership, but the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages would not allow it. They appealed to the courts and after various hearings and appeals took their case to the Supreme Court, which is the highest Civil court in the land. The couple argued that the ‘patriarchal’ tradition of marriage was not for them. They say on their website “For us, a civil partnership best reflects who we are, how we see our relationship and our role as parents – a partnership of equals. We want a civil partnership to cement our commitment and strengthen the security of our family unit.”

They argued successfully that not allowing them to have a civil partnership was unfair discrimination and a breach of their human rights. The government now needs to formally change the law to reflect the decision and the change in society.

Currently, a Cohabitation Agreement is the best way to protect the interests of an unmarried cohabiting couple. If you would like to arrange a Cohabitation Agreement or to discuss any other Family Law issue please contact a member of the Family Law team at Cullimore Dutton Solicitors on 01244 356 789 or email