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Is a French Pacs valid in the UK?

We look at whether France’s equivalent of a civil partnership is still recognised once a couple leaves the country

Both same-sex and mixed-sex couples can enter into a Pacs Pic: Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock

Reader Question: My partner and I entered into a Pacs agreement in France. We now plan to move to the UK - will our Pacs be recognised there?

A French pacte civil de solidarité (Pacs) is not automatically recognised abroad.

However, the good news is that since the UK has an equivalent system, your Pacs will be considered valid once you move.

It is worth noting, though, that rather than retaining the exact same rights conferred by the French document, you will be treated the same as a British couple in a civil partnership.

This means that, when it comes to issues such as inheritance, the agreement will actually become more wide reaching once you move to the UK.

Read more: Make sense of...The French Pacs

Contrary to a Pacs, under a civil partnership, if one partner dies without leaving a will, the surviving partner inherits their assets.

A change to the UK regulations in 2019 strengthened the rights of Pacsed couples who come or return to live in the UK.

Previously, only same-sex couples in a Pacs agreement could have this status recognised by British authorities.

But changes to the Civil Partnership Act 2004 opened up UK civil partnerships to mixed-sex couples, meaning mixed-sex partners with a French Pacs are now also be given equivalent status.

This was a significant change for French couples moving to the UK as the majority of Pacs agreements are entered into by mixed-sex couples.

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