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    Civil Partnership Registration – what you need to know

With mixed-sex civil partnerships being such a new entity many couples do not know what they are entitled to in terms of ceremony. We are also finding, to our disappointment, that some register offices either do not advertise a simple registration service or try to promote one of the more expensive or ceremonial options. Each civil partnership is unique and couples will choose their own path but we have put together a guide to help get you what you want.

Giving notice

A mixed-sex couple can give notice, individually or together, in a register office in a district in which they have been living for at least 7 full days. They need to know where they will form their civil partnership but not when. It needs to be within 28 days and 12 months after giving notice.

If not permanently resident in this district, the couple can provide an affidavit from the owner of the property in which they are staying confirming that they have been there for 7 full days.

This will incur a fee of £35 each.

Civil Partnership Registration

Every register office must offer the option of a simple registration involving just the couple concerned and two witnesses. 

  • These will usually take place in a working office
  • Will not usually allow additional guests beyond two witnesses
  • Can be at set times depending on the flexibility of the register office. Whilst some offer great flexibility on timings, others only provide the option at set times during the week and even only once per month. All register office must, however, provide this at least once per month.
  • Not all register offices advertise that this service is available so if it isn’t on their website or information, please do contact them directly.
  • The simple registration will incur a fee of under £100 and will vary depending on the register office.
  • The legal requirements for a civil partnership registration involve the registrar checking that the legal documents are valid before the couple swear that they are freely and legally able to enter into a civil partnership. You do not need to make any further vows unless you wish to.
  • Each register offices provides their own ‘scripts’. Some of these involve exchanging rings, declarations by  the registrar or further vows from the couple. You do not have to have any of these, unless you want to, so you can make that clear from the first rather than feeling uncomfortable in your own registration.
  • You do not have to a civil partnership in your own register office so you can feel free to find one that suits you.

If you have not had a happy experience with your register office or feel that they are not offering you the registration that you want, feel free to use our template letter to personalise and send to them. If you would like Equal Civil Partnerships to contact them as well on your behalf please email us at hello@equalcivilpartnerships.org.uk with the details.

This advice is aimed at those couples who want the simplest civil partnership registration. We recognise that many couples choosing the new relationship do want additional factors within the registration service and will want to personalise it as they choose. Register offices are more accepting of this and will, we are sure, be delighted to work with you to help you create the ceremony that is right for you. We are happy that mixed-sex civil partnerships are a new legal relationship and that couples are able to create the partnership that is right for them from the very start.

Overseas Civil Partnership Recognition

A number of countries and regions world-wide recognise not married mixed-sex couples as being in a legal relationship. Some but not all of these are classed as legally equivalent in England and Wales and so will be automatically classed as a mixed-sex civil partnership with the legal and financial rights accruing.

A full list of countries and regions with the appropriate relationship can be found here https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2019/1458/schedule/1/made