Civil partnership registration is available to adult same sex couples who are not in an existing registered civil partnership or marriage and who are not closely related.
On signing a partnership agreement, same sex couples would gain rights and responsibilities similar to those of an opposite sex couple who enter into a civil marriage.
Rights and responsibilities include:
- A duty to provide reasonable maintenance for your civil partner and any children of the family
- Civil partners to be assessed in the same way as married couples for child support and other benefits
- Equal treatment with married couples for the purpose of life assurance, employment and pension benefits
- Recognition under inheritance and intestacy rules
- Right to register the death of a partner
- Tenancy succession rights
- Access to fatal accident compensation
- Protection from domestic violence
- Recognition for immigration and nationality purposes
What if the civil partnership breaks down?
A civil partnership agreement is intended to give recognition to a long-term and stable relationship and so, once formed, it can only be ended by a formal, court based process similar to divorce proceedings and will involve arrangements for fair division of property and appropriate residence and contact arrangements for children.
Who can form a civil partnership?
Any same sex couple who are over 18 years of age, not related to each other and not in an existing marriage or civil partnership can apply to form a civil partnership.
How do couples apply to form a civil partnership?
Each of you must give notice of civil partnership in person, no-one else can do this for you.
Your notices of civil partnership must be given at the Register Officer for the district in England or Wales where you have lived for at least the previous 7 days. (If one, or both, of you is not usually resident in England or Wales please ask the Superintendent Registrar for further advice about when and where to give notice of marriage.) It does not matter if you move address once you have given notice.
Once you have given notice you must wait at least 15 days before your civil partnership can take place.
A notice of civil partnership is valid for twelve months, so you cannot give your notice more than twelve months in advance of the date of formation.
If you live in separate districts, each of you will have to give notice at your own local register office.
You are asked to give information about yourself and the person you intend to form a civil partnership with as well as details of where the formation is to take place.
The schedule is the legal document that confirms that the civil partnership can go ahead.
On the day of registration of the partnership the couple will sign the partnership register in the presence of a registration officer and two witnesses.
There will be no requirement for any words to be said as part of the legal process of forming the civil partnership. This is personal preference and ceremony choices are available- see marriage section for ceremonies, approved premises and fees.
Documents you will need to produce:
When attending to give notice of civil partnership at your local Register Office, you will need to produce evidence of your name, age, marital status and nationality.
If you have a current full passport you should bring it with you when giving notice of civil partnership. If you do not have a passport, a birth certificate would also be acceptable (if possible it should be a birth certificate issued at, or near to, the time your birth was registered)
For persons born after 1 January 1983 in the UK, an individual's nationality is dependent upon the nationality of its parents.
Where a person who was born in the UK on or after that date is unable to produce a full British passport or a naturalisation/registration certificate from the Home Office, further evidence will be needed.
If the parents were married at the time of the birth, a child can take nationality from either parent. - Documents needed would be full birth certificate of person wishing to marry and either birth certificate or passport of one of the parents.
If unmarried, nationality is taken from the mother, it follows that if the mother was born in the UK prior to 1.1.1983 she would be a British citizen and so would the child. Therefore, we would have to see a full birth certificate for the person wishing to marry together with either birth certificate or passport for the mother.
If the mother was not British then evidence of the father's British nationality and proof of marriage is required to establish the British nationality of the child.
You will also be asked to produce a document confirming your name and current address, eg: a household bill, bank statement, driving licence, pay slip, benefit book.
If you have been married or formed a civil partnership before, you will need to produce documents to confirm that you are now free to give notice.
If you are divorced you will need to be able to produce a decree absolute showing the court's original seal (this is usually a rubber stamped deal in red or purple ink). If the divorce was granted in a foreign country and the divorce document is in a foreign language, you may be asked to produce an English translation.
If you have been through a civil partnership before notice may be accepted when the party giving it is to be able to declare with certainty that the dissolution has been made final, or where granted outside England and Wales, is of final effect.
If you husband or wife died you will need to produce a certified copy of the death certificate.
If you have changed your name by deed poll, change of name deed or statutory declaration, this document should also be produced.
If either of you are under 18 years you will probably require your parents written consent before you can form a civil partnership- please contact the Superintendent Registrar for advice.
Please note that photocopies of documents are not acceptable. If you are unable to produce any of the required documents contact the Superintendent Registar at your local Register Offcer for advice.
Where can a civil partnership be registered?
A civil partnership can be registered and civil partnerships ceremonies can take place at any register office or other building licensed for civil marriage in England or Wales.
Last modification: 15/10/2013