Since December 2005 it has been possible for same sex couples to register their partnership. The effect of this is that those couples acquire every right and responsibility arising from a marriage between heterosexuals, that is apart from the right to a religious ceremony.
Civil partners can also enter into "prenuptial" agreements, and this firm is pleased to advise on those.
In order to register for a civil partnership the parties to it:-
- must not be of the opposite sex; and
- must not already be a civil partner or legally married; and
- must not be younger than 16 years of age; and
- must not be within the prohibited degrees of relationship, for example a child, adoptive child, parent or sibling.
A civil partnership is formed when two people sign a partnership document in the presence of each other, the Registrar, and two witnesses. The registration of a partnership must take place in England and Wales, and may not be in religious premises.
Each of the proposed civil partners must give notice of the proposed partnership to their local registration authority. They may choose in which authority they wish to register their partnership. However, they must both have resided (that is to say, have been physically present) in England and Wales, and in the relevant authority for at least seven days prior to giving notice of the intended registration.
If a party or persons are subject to immigration controls then, for the purposes of entering into the partnership agreement, they must either obtain entry clearance, obtain written permission from the Home Secretary, or fall within a class of persons specified by the Secretary of State. Reporting duties will fall on any authorised person who suspects the formation of the partnership is for the sole purpose of evading statutory immigration controls.
When notice is given, the authority will require evidence of name and surname, age, any prior of civil partnerships or marriage and proof of their termination, nationality, and the requisite residence in England and Wales for seven days preceding the giving of notice.
After giving notice, the parties must wait a further 15 days (save where the registrar-general is satisfied there are compelling reasons for shortening the period) before entering into their partnership.
Notice must be publicised by the authority for 15 days both in the authority area where registration will take place and in the authority area where the parties live, if different. During the 15-day waiting period, any person may object to the proposed partnership.
At the conclusion of the waiting period, the registrar is under a duty at the request of one or both civil partners to issue a partnership schedule (except where an objection has been recorded or where the authority believes there may be a lawful impediment). The proposed civil partners have 12 months from the date of the first civil partners notice to sign the schedule.
Once the proposed civil partners have signed the schedule, a partnership will have been formed.
Civil partnerships can be subject to termination, annulment and dissolution.
Civil partnerships will be brought to an end automatically on the occurrence of any of the following events:-
- the death or either partner; or
- the presumption of death of either partner arising; or
- the granting of an application to one of the partners due to the fact that the other has been absent for a period of seven years or more, that they have no reason to believe that the partner has been living within that time.
In the event of the dissolution of a civil partnership, the Act makes provision for financial relief for civil partners. That relief is essentially the same as that set out in the Matrimonial Causes Act in the context of a divorce.
The Act also contemplates financial provision for children, parental responsibility and adoption.
If you need any assistance with any aspect of this please contact Donna Robinson on 01273 673226 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.