What Is A Civil Partnership?
Being in a 'Common Law' partnership has been around for the age of time, however legally, couples who identify under a common law marriage do not have the same rights as married couples when it comes to boring things like Legal Rights, Tax, Pensions & Inheritance.
Since the 31st of December 2019 Civil Partnerships for opposite sex couples and genders have been legal in the United Kingdom. It was made lawful for same sex couples to have a civil partnership in 2004, and eventually in 2014 same sex couples were legally allowed to marry. (Madness really isn't it? But hey, positive change is always good, so let's keep it going).
P.S. If you are a same sex couple in England & Wales who had a Civil Ceremony and wish to change your marital status to married, you can head to the England & Wales government website here. This option currently does not exist for opposite sex couples who decide to enter a Civil Partnership.
Why Would You Choose A Civil Partnership Over A Marriage?
Marriage doesn't always fit with people’s ideologies. This is becoming a blurred line over time as wedding traditions are changing, inside the church and outside. Ideas like, 'The giving away of the bride' & 'Promising to obey' have always been contested issues. But to be honest, it can simply be a religious reason.
For me, I love the idea that people can bring meaning, and legal definition, to their relationships in ways that suit them best. Whatever that may be!
How are Civil Partnerships different from Marriages with Civil Ceremonies?
The civil partnership ceremony itself does not involve an exchanging of vows or the singing of hymns as a conventional wedding might, which you may or may not wish to add yourself.
Instead, the union is valid after both parties sign the civil partnership document. The terminology used throughout is also different from
that of a traditional wedding—either a religious one or a wedding by the registrations service, which also officiates civil partnerships.
What do you call your civil partner?
I mean... whatever you want? But during the Civil Ceremony, you would typically say 'Partner' rather than Husband or Wife.
How do I get a civil partnership?
The process of getting a civil partnership is very similar to one for a civil wedding.
This is a two-step process, assuming you meet the following criteria:
- You are both of legal age.
- You have both lived in the same area for at least seven days.
- Neither of you is already married or in a civil partnership.
- You're not close relatives.
- You need to give notice of your intention to register your civil ceremony.
- Ring your local registration service and ask about giving notice for a Civil Partnership. They will set a time a date for you to go into the office with the relevant I.D. and paperwork to register that you both want to start a legal journey together.
- The actual registration is the signing of your Civil Document, declaring that you are now civil partners.
There are no further legal hoops to jump through! You don't even have to have a ceremony, although you can choose to have one if you want, with many local authorities happy to arrange for a ceremony in addition to the signing of the civil partnership document. At the end of the day we all love to be happy and ceremonies are a great way to solidify your decision in a Civil Partnership.
If you want a ceremony after you have signed the civil document schedule, and the local authority refuses to carry out a ceremony, you could:
- Find another approved venue where you can sign the civil partnership schedule and have a ceremony
- Arrange a ceremony somewhere else on the same day, or on a different day after the legal bit is done and have a close friend or professional official conduct the ceremony. Make it personal. Make it yours!
Where Can You Host A Civil Partnership Ceremony?
You can register your civil partnership at any registry office or at any venue that is approved to register civil partnerships.
Anywhere that has been authorised to hold civil marriages is approved automatically to register civil partnerships, as non- religious venues cannot choose whether to hold civil partnerships or not. If they hold civil weddings, this would be unlawful discrimination to deny you your Civil Partnership Ceremony.
Religious premises, however, are not obliged to host civil partnership ceremonies which they can do if they wish to. They are also able to host only same sex civil partnership schedules if they wish to deny opposite sex couples their civil partnership schedule.
How Much Does A Civil Partnership Cost?
You will need to pay a fee to give notice of your intention to register a civil partnership, as well as a registration fee. The cost depends on where you want to register your civil partnership. It’s a good idea to contact the venue for details of the fees.