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What is the different between marriage and a Civil Partnership?

A Civil Partnership is a legal relationship which can be registered to give same-sex and opposite-sex couples who are wanting to formalise their relationship, to do so without a religious ceremony, the taking of vows or the signing a marriage certificate.

A civil partnership is formed by both parties signing a civil partnership certificate to register their legal relationship. It offers the same legal rights and responsibilities as that of a lawful marriage.

To form a civil partnership, you both must be over 16 years old and have lived in the same area of England or Wales for at least 7 days. If you are 16 or 17 years old, you will need parental consent. You must both be unmarried and not in an existing civil partnership, and you can’t be related.

Prior to registering a civil partnership you may wish to draw up a pre-registration agreement. This gives both parties the opportunity to set out your rights and obligations towards each other, and also, what will happen if your relationship breaks down.

A pre-registration agreement is not legally binding, but it can influence the Court if they get involved if you want to end your partnership. It can include arrangements for children, your property, your assets, any business interests, and your pensions

How do I register a Civil Partnership?

Firstly you need to give notice of your intention to register at the local register office where you live.

You will need to provide your name, address, age, nationality and whether you have been married or in a civil partnership before.

You will also be asked to provide documentary evidence such as your passport, birth certification, decree absolute, a final order or the death certificate of a former civil partner.

These details are made available for people to see for 28 days before you can register your Civil Partnership.

As long as there are no objections, both parties will then need to sign a Civil Partnership document in front of two witnesses and a registrar. This must be done within 12 months.

Watson Thomas Solicitors have offices in Fleet, Guildford, London, WinchesterBracknell, Camberley, Farnborough and Woking.

Here at Watson Thomas our experienced lawyers can help advice and assist you with your pre-registration agreement and civil partnership registration.