Civil Partnerships

At Lovell Chohan Solicitors we have Law Society and Specialist Resolution Accredited solicitors who can advise you on all aspects of civil partnerships.

A civil partnership can be entered into by two people of the same sex. The law in this area is governed by the Civil Partnership Act 2004. In order to enter into a civil partnership, both parties must meet certain requirements:

  1. Both parties must be of the same sex;
  2. Both parties must be at least 16 years old, and if aged between 16 and 18, parental consent is required;
  3. Neither party can be married or already in be a civil partnership; and
  4. Neither party can be within the prohibited degrees of relationship. There is an absolute prohibition on couples who are related to each other entering into a civil partnership.

To enter into a civil partnership, the couple must initially give notice of their intention of the same to a registration authority in England and Wales. This notice must also contain a written declaration that the proposed civil partner has resided in England and Wales for at least 7 days before the notice was given, and that the partners believe that there are no lawful hindrances to prevent them from entering into such a partnership.

There is awaiting period of up to 15 days, where the registration authority will investigate into whether there are any lawful impediments to the civil partnership. Once this waiting period has expired and the registration authority is satisfied that the civil partnership can lawfully commence, one or both of the civil partners can apply to the registration authority for a civil partnership schedule.

The couple cannot register as civil partners until this partnership schedule has been received. After the couple have this document, they have a period of 12 months from the date that notice was given to the registration authority to form and register their civil partnership. Failure to comply within this timeframe results in the couple’s civil partnership being void.

To form the civil partnership, the couple must sign a civil partnership document in the presence of each other, a civil partnership registrar and two witnesses. This ceremony must not take place in religious premises and the couple cannot have a religious service.

Once the civil partnership is registered, the civil partners are granted many of the same rights and responsibilities that heterosexual married couples are entitled to.

The civil partnership can be terminated in the following ways:

Dissolution:

This is akin to divorce, and the applicant must show that the civil partnership has broken down irretrievably. This must be evidenced by one of the 4 facts, which are:

  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Desertion
  • Two years’ separation with consent
  • Five years separation.

A nullity order:

Where the civil partnership is void or voidable, the Court can grant an annulment.

A presumption of death order:

Where one of the civil partners is believed to be dead, the Court can dissolve the civil partnership.

Under the Civil Partnership Act 2004, the same financial reliefs that married couples are entitled to on the breakdown of their marriage are also available to civil partners.