In most respects, a registered partnership is a marriage-like arrangement. Registered partnerships and marriages are signed before a registrar. Mutual rights and duties of the partners involved are to a large extent identical to the rights and duties which apply between married partners.
A registered partnership is terminated when one of the partners dies or wishes to annul the agreement. Annulment requires a court order or mutual consent without intervention of a judge. A marriage is dissolved at the death of one of the partners or by a court decision.
A distinct difference between a registered partnership agreement and a marriage is the legal relation between the partners and their children. If a married woman gives birth, the husband is automatically the father unlike in a registered partnership. In a registered partnership, the partner of a woman who gives birth is the legitimate father only if he is prepared to recognise the child and has the mother’s consent.
Between 1 April 2001 and 1 March 2009, it was possible to convert a marriage into a registered partnership. Subsequently, the partnership could be dissolved out-of-court, a so-called quick divorce procedure. These registered partnerships are not included in the statistics presented in this article.