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Civil status, or marital status, are the distinct options that describe a person's relationship with a significant other. Married, single, divorced, and widowed are examples of such status and sometimes may be a source of discrimination.
Civil status and marital status are terms used in forms, vital records, and other documents to ask or indicate whether a person is married or single. In the simplest contexts, no further distinction is made. A status of married means that a person was wed in a manner legally recognized by their jurisdiction. A person's specified civil status might also be married if they are in a civil union or common-law marriage. The civil status of a person who is legally separated is married.
Whether a cohabiting couple (such as in a domestic partnership) have a civil status of "married" depends on the circumstances and the jurisdiction. In addition to those who have never married, single status applies to people whose relationship with a significant other is not legally recognized.
Questions about civil status appear on questionnaires for quantitative research, such as census forms and market research instruments. In a person's medical history, civil status is considered to have both quantitative and qualitative significance. A government records the civil status of its citizens by means of a civil registration system. Historically, inquiries into marital status have also appeared on applications for employment, loans, and credit.
Family status indicates whether a person is the responsible caregiver for a child.
- Kislev, Elyakim (2019). Happy Singlehood: The Rising Acceptance and Celebration of Solo Living. University of California Press.
- Media related to Marital status at Wikimedia Commons