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What Is a French Civil Union PACS

The French Choose Marriage Lite — Would You?

I have a French friend who wears a diamond on her left ring finger, owns a house with her mate, and has a 2-year-old son with him, too. You would think she's married, but she's not, and it has nothing to do with thinking a piece of paper is useless. Instead she's opted for a lighter version of marriage: a civil union.

The New York Times reported on the trend this week, noting that there are two civil unions (known as pacte civil de solidarité, or PACS) for each traditional marriage in France. Originally created in 1999 for gay couples, straight people now get them more often.

The pros include rights, like filing joint tax returns, without having to go through a messy and expensive legal battle to separate. All it takes is a simple registered letter to dissolve a PACS and avoid France's burdensome marriage and tax laws. The cons, besides not having a wedding, include the lack of an appropriate title to use for your legal partner. Since they're not husband and wife, I've noticed that the PACSed French people I know still refer to each other as boyfriend and girlfriend, which doesn't really seem to fit. Plus, it's less permanent than marriage, considering it's easier to get out of. But that's also why some people like it.

One thing's for sure, the wedding industry would fight this in America. Would you say "I do" to civil unions?

Source: Flickr User acousticskyy

Join The Conversation
LittleMzFit LittleMzFit 6 years
A person can be committed to another without a piece of paper, civil union, or marriage. The rest is to be decided by the couple. To each his own! -- Personally, I prefer marriage. I guess I'm an all or nothing kind of girl. That could be good or bad, depending on how you look at it. ;) BTW, my divorce wasn't messy...most of the stress came from disappointment re: the relationship, which will occur in any breakup, whether married or not.
b1uebunn b1uebunn 6 years
Divorce doesn't have to be a messy legal battle; it's only that way if one or both parties are being assholes. Amicable divorces aren't expensive and horrible. Further, I take exception to this: "I think this could be good for people who are not religious. However, I think that people should be able to solemnize their marriage in their religious faith if they have that belief." I'm an atheist, but I sure as hell wanted to marry my husband. I don't want a light option. Marriage and our love is real and tangible, and I wanted the full benefits from it. It had nothing to do with religion; it had to do with our commitment and desire to spend our lives together. I would not accept something lesser, and I don't think any type of couple, whether they're religious, non-religious, gay, or straight, should have to.
lickety-split lickety-split 6 years
more realistic lets face it, most relationships are temporary why pretend otherwise?
Epicdoodle Epicdoodle 6 years
I agree with inlove23, unfortunately marriage has become some what of a temporary commitment thing for lots of people. So when the honeymoon stage is over and things start to get tough people just back out instead of trying to work things out - no wonder the divorce rate is so high. Marriage has sorta lost its value [to some people] so it's not taken seriously anymore which is really sad. If your not planning on being in the relationship for the the long haul I guess this is the perfect thing for you but I its not for me.
inlove23 inlove23 6 years
I think people are looking at marriage as temporary now. Before, you marry one person and you tough it out. Now the divorce rate is at 50%, and it typically happens in the first 5 years of marriage. If we change our thoughts to how our grandparents did we would see marriage as permanent and we wouldn't need something like this. However, since apparently most people don't think like this than I'm for it, I would just never do it myself. I totally agree with you Zeze.
Rory1225 Rory1225 6 years
I think this could be good for people who are not religious. However, I think that people should be able to solemnize their marriage in their religious faith if they have that belief. Also, I would like to point out that there will still be a messy legal battle-you still have to determine who would get the house, the kids, all the things you bought together. That doesn't go away unless the parties agree. And then we do have something like that in the US. It's called a dissolution.
imLissy imLissy 6 years
I agree with zeze
Pistil Pistil 6 years
Sounds alright to me.
zeze zeze 6 years
I think this is what all marriages should look like as far as the government is concerned. All the religious/spiritual fun stuff attached to marriage needs to stay out of the courtrooms and go back to the respective places of worship etc...
stephley stephley 6 years
Either do it or don't.
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