What is a Civil Partnership?

A Civil Partnership is a legally binding contract between two people. It provides for couples to form a partnership, recognised in law, to become next of kin to one another and to enjoy the same rights and privileges awarded to married couples.

Information about the differences between civil partnerships and marriage is available on the GOV.UK website

Who can form a Civil Partnership?

  • Any couple, opposite sex or same sex, can form a Civil Partnership.
  • You must be free to form the partnership – you must not be in an existing civil partnership or marriage.
  • You must be over 18 years of age. If under 18, but over 16, you must bring written consent from a parent or legal guardian.
  • If one or both parties do not hold British or EEC citizenship they must contact their nearest designated Register Office to give notice. For more information visit the Home office website.

How can you form a Civil Partnership?

The Civil Partnerships are administered by local unitary or county councils.

  • Decide where you would like to form your civil partnership.

You can choose to hold your civil partnership in any Registration district in England or Wales, and not just in the district where notice is given.  There is no legal requirement to have a ceremony, as a partnership is formed when a couple sign the Civil Partnership schedule in front of their witnesses, however Bath and North East Somerset Registration Service is delighted to offer a range of ceremony options incorporating the signing of the schedule if that is what you would like.

If you need to talk to someone about arranging an urgent Civil Partnership please click on the highlighted link.

Converting a Civil Partnership to a Marriage

There are two ways to convert a civil partnership into a marriage

  • a simple administrative process called a 'standard conversion' 
  • a two-stage process where the conversion is followed by a ceremony

The standard conversion

This is a simple administrative process where you will both attend an appointment at any register office and complete a declaration with details about you and your civil partnership. 

A legal declaration will then be drawn up for you to both sign with the Superintendent Registrar. If you wish you can choose to say the declaration wording aloud to one another before signing the conversion document. Your marriage is then registered, and a marriage certificate will be issued.

The cost of a Civil Partnership conversion to marriage is £45. There is a charge of £11 for each marriage certificate.

A conversion followed by a ceremony

There are two stages to this type of conversion. The first part is where you will both need to attend an appointment at any register office and complete a declaration with details about you and your civil partnership. 

The signing of the declaration can then be followed by a ceremony at venues where same sex couples are able to marry. For example:

  • Register Office 
  • Approved premises
  • Religious buildings that are registered for the marriage of same sex couples
  • Premises where a ceremony according to the Jewish faith of the Society of Friends is to immediately follow the conversion

Following the ceremony your marriage is registered, and a marriage certificate can then be issued. Your marriage certificate can either be collected or posted.

Fees apply to this service

If you are in a civil partnership and are considering converting this to a marriage, please contact the Register Office for more guidance and information at register_office@bathnes.gov.uk

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