Registering a Civil Partnership

Same-sex couples who wish to have their relationship recognised legally can register a civil partnership.

Civil partners must be treated the same as married couples on a wide range of legal matters, including:

  • tax, including Inheritance Tax
  • employment benefits
  • most state and occupational pension benefits
  • income-related benefits, tax credits and child support
  • their duty to provide reasonable maintenance for their civil partner and any children of the family
  • ability to apply for parental responsibility for their civil partner’s child
  • inheritance of tenancy agreements
  • protection from domestic violence
  • immigration and nationality purposes

The process for a homosexual couple registering a civil partnership is largely the same as that of marriage.

Any homosexual couple can register a civil partnership as long as they meet the following criteria:

  • both are 16 or over (those aged 16 or 17 will need written consent from their parents or guardians)
  • Both have lived in the same area of England or Wales for at least the last seven days
  • Neither partner is already married or in another civil partnership
  • The couple are not blood-related

A civil partnership can take place at any register office in England or Wales or any other council-approved marriage venue. It is illegal on the grounds of discrimination for any venue that hold civil marriages to refuse to host

Notice of a civil partnership must be given beforehand in the same way as marriage.

A civil partnership is legally formed by the signing of the civil partnership schedule.This must be done by both partners in the presence of two witnesses.

Ending a civil partnership

A civil partnership can only come to an end if one of the parties dies, or an application is made to court to annul it. You cannot apply to end a civil partnership until a year after it was registered.