Civil partnership is a legal relationship which two people of the same sex can form by signing a formal registration document. It is intended to give recognition to long term, stable relationships and help same sex couples to organise their lives together.
The legal consequences of registering a civil partnership
The Civil Partnership Act 2004 came into force on 5 December 2005 and enables same sex couples to obtain legal recognition of their relationship. Couples who form a civil partnership will have a new legal status, that of 'civil partner'.
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.
Applying to form a civil partnership
You may register a civil partnership if you are both
- the same sex
- 16 or over (parental consent is required if under 18)
- not already married or in a civil partnership
- not closely related (example: parent, brother, nephew, uncle)
Both parties will have to give notice of their intention to form a civil partnership at the register office for the district in which they are usually resident.
There will be a 28 day waiting period once notice of intention to register the partnership has been given.
On the day of registration of the partnership the couple will sign the partnership schedule in the presence of a registration officer and two witnesses. A civil partnership schedule can be signed at any register office or other building licensed for civil ceremony in England or Wales.
There is no requirement for any words to be said as part of the legal process of forming the civil partnership. However, we realise that most couples will want a ceremony at the same time as the partnership is formed. We will be happy to discuss the arrangements for these.