A civil partnership should not be entered into lightly. It is fundamentally
similar to marriage, conferring all the rights and privileges heterosexual
couples get with marriage.
One of the most important is next-of-kin rights, but also includes tax
and inheritance rights.
Next of kin rights allow you to receive your partner's pension should
he/she die. You can also register his/her death.
Civil partnerships are legally binding and you may end up providing
maintenance to your civil partner (and any children involved). If any state
benefits are being claimed, you will be treated exactly like any married
If things go horribly wrong, then you would need to obtain a dissolution
to end the partnership.
Employers now have to treat couples who have a civil partnership no
differently to married heterosexual couples.
You cannot get married in a church, but anywhere that has a license to
conduct civil services. You can shape your own ceremony - the only
necessities are your signatures and those of two witnesses.
To set your civil partnership in motion, firstly go to the registrar's
office in person to give formal notice of your intention to register your
partnership. You can register locally, but not necessarily have the ceremony
locally. You can even have a blessing in a church or other religious venue,
providing you find a gay-friendly vicar or religious leader.
You have to wait at least 15 days after you register your decision to
formalise your partnership, but you can be planning your ceremony well
A very useful source of information is The General Register Office. It's
website (www.gro.gov.uk) offers advice and can answer any questions you may
have as well as having a list of licensed venues. If you live in Scotland,
then you need the General Register Office for Scotland (www.gro-scotland.gov.uk).
Other useful sources of information include:
www.inlandrevenue.gov.uk for information on taxation implications
www.jobcentreplus.gov.uk for benefits information
www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk for advice when one partner comes from abroad.
The UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group can also help (www.ukgig.org.uk)
www.thepensionservice.gov.uk for pension information
www.dfes.gov.uk/adoption for adoption advice relating to your partner's
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