A civil partnership is a legal commitment, formed by two people, giving them the ability to obtain legal recognition for their relationship.
Couples who form a civil partnership will have a new legal status: civil partners.
Couples who form a civil partnership will be treated equally in a wide range of legal matters, the same as those who enter into a marriage.
In order to form a civil partnership in the UK, both partners must:
- Not be in a civil partnership or marriage already
- Be 16 years of age or older in England and Wales (individuals who are aged 16 and 17 will need written consent from their parents or legal guardians)
- Not be closely related
Giving notice of civil partnership
You need to book your ceremony before you can give notice of a marriage or civil partnership.
By law, you must give 28 days' notice at a registration office in the district in which you live. You can only give notice up to one year before your ceremony.
Civil partnership formation
A Civil Partnership is formed by both parties signing the legal declaration. The registrar will establish on the day whether you wish to recite the words printed within the legal document or you can acknowledge that you have heard the registrar say the words, meaning neither of you have to say anything.
Once you have chosen your venue and preferred date contact the ceremony officer. Civil partnership registration is an entirely secular process. The Civil Partnership Act stipulates that no religious content can be included in the formation of or in the ceremony following a civil partnership registration.
Civil Partnership celebration
If you would like to celebrate a civil partnership you can choose to have a ceremony to follow the registration procedure; we will be happy to arrange it for you, ask the ceremony officer for more details.
We will only conduct a civil partnership ceremony as part of a civil partnership registration.
The duration of the ceremony depends on the type of ceremony and the different options you choose. We suggest you allow 30 minutes for your ceremony.
Your civil partnership registration will be subject to civil partnership registration fees.
The cost of the ceremony will vary depending on the day, time and venue that you choose. You will need to contact the specific venue of your choice about availability and their room hire charges.
Converting a civil partnership to marriage
Couples who register their civil partnership in England and Wales will be able to convert their civil partnership to a marriage.
This includes all civil partnerships registered according to the law of England and Wales only.
Marriage or Civil Partnership
For information on the similarities and differences between marriage and civil partnership in England and Wales for same sex and opposite sex couples, please see Marriage and civil partnership in England and UK on GOV.UK.