Advice on rights of same-sex couples

Know your rights as a same-sex couple. Photo: www.rhapsodyroad.co.uk
Know your rights as a same-sex couple. Photo: www.rhapsodyroad.co.uk
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Know your rights as a same-sex couple. Photo: www.rhapsodyroad.co.uk

You and your partner can register a civil partnership as long as you are both 16 or over, and meet certain other conditions. You will need the consent of a parent or guardian if you are 16 or 17.

You will need to give notice of your intention to register your civil partnership. Once the notice period has expired, you can register your civil partnership in a register office, or anywhere else that has been approved to register civil partnerships. Anywhere that has been approved to hold civil marriages automatically has approval to register civil partnerships. Non-religious venues cannot refuse to hold civil partnerships if they hold weddings. This would be unlawful discrimination. However, religious organisations can refuse to hold civil partnerships in their venues. Venues other than register offices can choose whether to register civil partnerships or not.

You and your partner will have legally registered your civil partnership once you have signed a legal document, known as the civil partnership schedule. This must be done in front of a registrar and two witnesses. There are no further legal requirements and you don’t have to have a ceremony, although you can choose to have one if you want.

A civil partnership can only be ended by getting legal permission from a court. You can only do this if the partnership has lasted at least one year

From December 10, couples in a civil partnership registered in England and Wales will have the option to convert it into a marriage. The couple will need to sign a declaration with the registrar which converts their civil partnership into a marriage. The conversion process ends the civil partnership and the couple are treated as having been married since the date they became civil partners.

For the first year, all couples who formed their civil partnership before March 29, 2014 will receive a £45 fee reduction.