Civil partnership

How does civil partnership differ from marriage?

It is exclusively for same-sex couples

A civil partnership is formed when the second civil partner signs the relevant document, and a civil marriage is formed when the couple exchange spoken words.

There is no religious content.

Where can people register their civil partnership?

Every local authority provides a facility for the registration of a civil partnership.

Or you can tie the knot at any gay-friendly venue with a civil wedding licence.

Or at the residence of someone who is housebound or seriously ill and not expected to recover.

What formal requirements have to be met?

You and your partner need to give notice where you have resided for at least seven days.

You will be asked to give the date and place where the civil partnership registration is to take place so these details will need to have been first agreed with the local authority where the registration is going to take place

What will happen?

You will sign an official document at a registry office in front of the registrar and two witnesses. Your new legal status as 'registered Civil Partners' and will be protected by a package of rights.

Key benefits of the Civil Partnership Act:

  • equal treatment for tax purposes, including inheritance tax

  • recognition for immigration purposes

  • recognition for immigration purposes

  • rights to survivor's pension

  • next of kin rights

  • exemption from testifying against each other in court

  • court administered dissolution process

  • domestic violence protection

  • automatic revocation of will on registration of partnership

  • on intestacy surviving partner automatically inherits their partner's property

  • maintenance on dissolution responsibility for children

What happens if one partner dies?

The other will have the right to register their death, the right to claim a survivor pension. They will be eligible for bereavement benefits and compensation for fatal accidents or criminal injuries. Surviving partners will be recognised under inheritance and intestacy rules and will have tenancy succession rights.

Civil partners will be able to accrue survivor pensions in public service schemes and contracted-out pension schemes from 1988.

Will the UK recognise partnership schemes across Europe and beyond?

Yes so long as they and their overseas relationship meets the requirements set out in the Civil Partnership Act.

These include requirements that the overseas relationship is either (a) one of the specified relationships listed in Schedule 20 to the Act, or (b) a relationship that meets the 'general conditions' contained in section 214.

The list of specified relationships is listed in Schedule 20 which includes:

Andorra, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, United States of America : California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachussetts, New Jersey and Vermont,

What if one partner isn't a UK or EU citizen?

A person will be subject to immigration control if they are not an EEA national and they require permission to enter or remain in the United Kingdom .

They must have either entry clearance for the purpose of enabling them to form a civil partnership in the United Kingdom or the written permission of the Secretary of State to form a civil partnership. These provisions are contained in Schedule 23 to the Act.

What immigration rights will a non-EU citizen partner have?

They will be able to apply for two years' leave to enter or remain in the UK . If the civil partnership is still subsisting at the end of this period then an application for indefinite leave to remain may be made.

What happens if our relationship breaks down?

You can apply for a dissolution. This will be a court-based process where the partner applying for the dissolution will have to show that there has been an irretrievable break down in the relationship. The dissolution will involve fair arrangements for property division, financial relief, residence arrangements and appropriate contact with children.

Will it cost anything to register our partnership?

There are statutory fees to pay, for example, a fee for each person to register and you will have to pay the registrar to perform the ceremony and hire a room - costs of this will vary. For further details contact your local council or registry office, or the General Register Office:

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