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UK Gay Weddings FAQ

What is civil partnership? Civil Partnership is a new legal relationship, giving two people of the same sex similar rights to married couples. These rights and responsibilities include: A duty to provide reasonable maintenance for your civil partner and any children of the family Ability to apply for parental responsibility for your civil partner’s child Equitable treatment for assessment of child support, life assurance, tax, employment and pension benefits. Recognition under intestacy rules Recognition for immigration and nationality purposes Next of kin rights Who is eligible? The couple must both be of the same sex, be 16 years of age or older, not already be in a civil partnership or marriage and not be related to each other. In England, Northern Ireland and Wales, 16 and 17 year olds will need their parents’ consent. In Scotland, they won’t. How do you register? To register a civil partnership, you must first give formal notice to your local authority.

You’ll be able to do this from December 5, but some authorities (such as Brighton and Hove, Liverpool, Sheffield) are already taking provisional bookings. Where can I register my civil partnership? Anywhere already approved for marriages, such as a register office or licensed wedding venue. How long do I have to wait? Once each person has given notice of intention to register, there is a 15-day waiting period before the civil partnership can be registered. In exceptional circumstances, the 15-day period can be reduced – for example where someone is seriously ill and not expected to recover. What time of day can a civil partnership be registered? Civil partnerships can only be registered between 8am and 6pm (as is the case for marriage).

However, where one of the couple is seriously ill and not expected to recover, then the civil partnership may be formed at any time. What happens at a civil partnership registration? The couple sign a civil partnership document in the presence of the registrar and two witnesses. Civil partnership registration is an entirely secular process and the Civil Partnership Act prevents any religious service from taking place during the statutory steps leading to the formation of a civil partnership. Can we have a ceremony? Yes. You can have a ceremony in addition to the signing of the legal documentation, but it is not required under the Act. How much will it cost? The cost of giving notice in advance of forming a civil partnership is £30.00 per person. Forming a civil partnership at a register office will cost £40. The local registration authority set the cost for attendance by a civil partnership registrar and a further charge is likely to be made by the owners of the building for the use of the premises.

What happens if the relationship breaks down? A civil partnership can only be ended by formal dissolution or annulment, or on the death of one of the parties. The process for dissolution will be court-based and the person applying for the partnership to be dissolved will have to show that it has broken down irretrievably. Will the UK recognise civil partnership schemes from other countries? If you have already entered into a civil partnership in another country (countries which already allow civil partnerships include Belgium, Denmark, Finland and Canada), you won’t have to register again here. From 5 December, your partnership will be recognised in the UK.


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