What is A Civil Partnership in the UK?

Civil Partnership


A civil partnership in the UK is a legal relationship in which two people are registered in court irrespective of gender, cast, or relation. It is available for both heterosexual and homosexual couples.

So if you go to court and register a civil partnership, it gives both you and your partner’s relationship legal recognition. With this recognition, you both get added legal rights and some added responsibilities.

Now how is it different from living together, or even marriage?

Living together

Living together means what it says; a couple is just living together. There is no marriage or civil partnership in the UK between the individuals.

Therefore, some rights that you would have gained if you registered as a civil partner or legally married partner would not be present in this scenario. It depends on your demands, which decide what kind of responsibilities and legal rights you can get in this agreement.

For example, suppose you want to share your child’s responsibility, joint ownership of the property you live in, or joint ownership of possessions, for the legal rights of all this. In that case, you will need to hire an experienced solicitor to help you figure all this out.

What is a Registered Civil Partnership?

One more difference between living together and civil partnership is the adoption rights. If you are registered in a civil partnership, adopting a child is very straightforward and like a walk in the park since it won’t involve any agency.

But on the contrary, if you are not involved in a civil partnership, this same process will take much longer.

Another difference between civil and non-civil partnership couples can arise if one partner dies. If you are in a civil partnership, then the alive partner can withdraw the amount left in the bank.

But if you are not in a civil partnership, you cannot withdraw the money from the account if your name isn’t there as an owner.

One main difference between marriage and Civil partnership in the UK is that marriage is formed based on vows. It has a religious aspect to it most –if not all the time – whereas, in a civil partnership, the couple is formed by simply signing the partnership document, having two witnesses and a registrar with them.

And by chance, if the couple wants to separate, in a marriage, that happens through a divorce; however, in civil partnerships, the dissolution process happens. Still, fundamentally it remains the same for both parties.

In the United Kingdom, you can form a civil partnership, irrespective of gender, but one has to follow some rules and regulations.

Who can register?

16 and above

  • You can only register for a civil partnership if you are 16 and above, which applies to both partners. If any one of both the partners is 16 or 17, parental consent is required.
  • You can only register for civil partnership if both the individuals have lived in the same area of England or Wales for the past week.
  • You can only register if neither of the individuals already has a civil partner or is not married.
  • You cannot register for a civil partnership if you are close relatives.

How to register?

Due to the pandemic situation, there are some additional rules about Civil partnership in the UK. For instance, the number of people allowed to be in the civil partnership ceremony, whether the individuals can have their reception or not, and if yes, where and how many people are allowed to be there for them.

1. Give notice

 The first step to civil partnership is to give notice. Both the individuals have to provide information about their intentions and why they want to register for this civil partnership and submit this notice to the local registrar of their locality.

 2. It cannot be done online, and it has to be done in person

 Keep in mind that when you give the notice with your partner to the office, they will ask you for details of the area and the date when your partnership needs to be registered. So, you need to coordinate and contact your venue where you will get registered beforehand.

3. General information

 In the office, you will be required to give the office personal details like your name, nationality, age, and whether you or your partner has ever been in a civil partnership – or even marriage – before. So, you will need to keep all this information with proof ready.

4. Registrar’s office

Once you have submitted the notice of your intention to register into a civil partnership, the details from the notice are made available in the registrar’s office for all to see. It might be in the area you both live in or different areas if you are living in other areas.

5. Availability

The details have to be made available for everyone to see for a minimum of 28 days before you are allowed to register your civil partnership. After that, it is only to enable objections.

If there are no objections or legal reasons, you are free to register your civil partnership after 28 days. The office will give you a legal document by the name of the Civil Partnership Schedule that you will need to register your civil partnership.

Also, keep in mind that you need to register under 12 months after this process, or you will have to go through this ordeal again.

Where to register?

where to register

By the law of the United Kingdom, any place approved for civil marriages is compulsorily available for registering civil partnerships. They cannot refuse civil partnerships since they will come under unlawful discrimination.

So now that you have a clue of what undergoes the civil partnership process, the differences between marriage, living in a relationship, and civil partnership, you can carefully choose your options with your significant other and do what is best for you.


Although you wish to have some legal rights – the ones that you can avail yourself of – in your relationship with your partner, making an official agreement recognized by the courts is the way to go.

This agreement is known as the living together agreement or the cohabitation contract.

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