Is our different-sex Pacs valid if returning to UK?

We are in a different-gender Pacs [a French form of civil partnership open to same and opposite sex couples, often entered into for property purchases] and are considering returning to the UK. Will our Pacs be recognised there? B.F.

19 December 2018
By Oliver Rowland

Unfortunately, no it will not, although this may change in the near future.

Lauren Evans, an associate with the London-based international law firm Kingsley Napley, said the UK’s Civil Partnership Act 2004 recognises the French Pacs, but only for same-sex couples, which it considers comparable to the current UK civil partnership.

So a heterosexual Pacs is not recognised.

However, legislation is going through the UK parliament (in the form of a private member’s bill) to allow heterosexual couples to enter into British civil partnerships.

Ms Evans said the current version of the British bill does not mention the recognition of overseas relationships, but it requires additional regulations to be made amending the 2004 act.

At that point the section on “overseas relationships treated as civil partnerships” could be amended.

She added that there is, as yet, no guarantee that such recognition would be retrospective to include an opposite sex Pacs entered into before the change in the UK law, although it is possible.

At present therefore, the only sure option would be to get married – or to wait and see if the law changes.

Ms Evans said she will take the issue up with the MP who put forward the private member’s bill. 

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