From a legal perspective, a civil partnership is, to all intents and purposes, a civil marriage in all but name without an exchange of vows.

Civil Partnerships

On 5 December 2005 the Civil Partnership Act 2004 came into force. It is not only an historic piece of legislation but arguably overdue.

The Act is intended to give civil partners the same rights and responsibilities as those who enter civil marriage.

From a legal perspective, a civil partnership is, to all intents and purposes, a civil marriage in all but name without an exchange of vows. In the same ways as a marriage, the civil partnership will end only on death, dissolution or annulment.

Am I Eligible?

To register a civil partnership the parties must:

  • Be of the same sex;
  • Not already be a civil partner or already married;
  • Not be under 16;
  • Not be within prohibited degrees of relationship;
  • Have resided in England and Wales for at least 7 days prior to giving notice and must lodge notices of proposed civil partnerships with certain required information and declarations to a registration authority, which is usually the local council.

What is the registration process?

Once the notice has been lodged, the notices are publicized and there is a fifteen day waiting period to give other people a chance to object. Then, assuming there have been no objections, the registration authority issues a civil partnership document and the couple then have twelve months in which to finalise it. The registration must take place in the presence of a civil partnership registrar, with both parties and two witnesses present to sign the civil partnership document. The venue must be open to the public and agreed with the registration authority but it cannot be any form of religious premises.

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