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What is civil partnership?

Civil partners will have equal treatment to married couples in a wide range of legal matters.

Who can register?

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  • Two people may register a civil partnership provided they are of the same sex;
  • They are not already in a civil partnership or lawfully married;
  • They are not within prohibited degrees of relationship (e.g. closely related);
  • They are both aged 16 or over (and, if either of them is under 18 the consent of the appropriate person has been obtained).

What happens at a civil partnership registration?

A civil partnership is registered once the couple have signed the civil partnership document (the schedule) in the presence of a registrar and two witnesses.

There are words printed on the document which the couple will be able to say at the time of signing the document, but the couple are not legally required to say any words - there is therefore no prescribed ceremony that you have to go through - it is the signing of the schedule which makes the process legally recognised.

What time of day can a civil partnership be registered?

Civil partnerships can be registered at any time with the prior agreement of the registration authority, the date and time being arranged with the registration authority

Can we have a ceremony?

Yes, you can arrange a ceremony in addition to the signing of the legal documentation if you wish, but a ceremony is not required under the Act. It is up to you to decide. Cornwall Registration Service has developed a number of beautiful ceremonies for you to choose from. The ceremony can be a very simple one with just a few words spoken or something more elaborate.

Where can civil partnership registration take place?

Civil partnership registration can take place at a Registration Office, approved venue or any religious premise approved as a venue for civil partnerships.  In Cornwall we have a wide range of exciting venues that have been approved for civil partnership registration - see Approved Venues or Registration Offices. The venues have been approved for civil partnership and marriage. Approved venues are legally able to allow the conduct of civil marriage, or civil partnership, or both on their premises.

How does civil partnership differ from marriage?

Civil partnership is a legal relationship exclusively for same-sex couples distinct from marriage. The Government has sought to give civil partners parity of treatment with spouses, as far as is possible, in the rights and responsibilities that flow from forming a civil partnership.

There are a small number of differences between civil partnership and marriage, for example, a civil partnership is formed when the second civil partner signs the relevant document. A civil marriage is formed when the couple exchanges spoken words. Opposite-sex couples can opt for a religious or civil marriage ceremony, whereas formation of a civil partnership will be an exclusively civil procedure although it may take place within a religious premise approved for civil partnership registration.  There are not currently any religious premises approved for the registration of civil partnerships within Cornwall.

Registration Service

0300 1234 181