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Civil Partnership Laws in the UK and Abroad

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 31 Jul 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Civil Partnership Relationship

Civil partnership, or the registration of same sex couples as civil partners, is legal across the United Kingdom since the Civil Partnership Act of 2004. This Act delineates civil partnerships as they are formed, registered, dissolved and much more across England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and those either formed or dissolved abroad. This Act also deals with relationships arising from civil partnerships (such as stepchildren), miscellaneous issues related to civil partnership (for example, pensions, tax credits and immigration) and supplementary issues related to civil partnership (for example, prohibited degrees of relationships). The full text of this Act can be found at the Office of Public Sector Information website.

Civil Partnership – England and Wales

Civil partnership became legal in England and Wales with the Civil Partnership Act of 2004. Part 2 of this Act deals with civil partnerships in England and Wales, including formation and eligibility, registration (standard and special procedures) dissolution, nullity and other proceedings, property and financial arrangements, civil partnership agreements and children. A section regarding miscellaneous issues relating to Civil Partnership in England and Wales is also included.

Civil Partnership – Scotland

Civil partnership became legal in Scotland with the Civil Partnership Act of 2004. Part 3 of this Act deals with civil partnerships in Scotland, including formation and eligibility, registration, occupancy rights and tenancies, interdicts and dissolution, separation and nullity. There is also a section devoted to miscellaneous issues and interpretation of this part.

Civil Partnership – Northern Ireland

Civil partnership became legal in Northern Ireland with the Civil Partnership Act of 2004. Part 4 of this Act deals with civil partnerships in Northern Ireland, including formation and eligibility, registration, dissolution, nullity and other proceedings, property and financial arrangements, civil partnership agreements, and children. There is also a section devoted to miscellaneous issues regarding civil partnership in Northern Ireland.

Civil Partnership - Abroad

Part 5 of the Civil Partnership Act of 2004 includes details of civil partnerships formed or dissolved abroad. This Part particularly deals with civil partnerships in which one of the parties is a resident or citizen of the United Kingdom, including registration by those serving in the armed forces. This Part also clearly defines the grounds on which civil partnerships are recognised in the United Kingdom and the grounds on which refusal of recognition might be served. This Part also details the jurisdiction of various United Kingdom courts in relation to civil partnerships formed or dissolved overseas.

Further Information on Civil Partnership in the United Kingdom

As with any Act, the Civil Partnership Act of 2004 can be difficult to comprehend on first reading. For further information on the Act, or on civil partnerships in the United Kingdom in general, visit a solicitor or legal advice centre experienced in dealing with this subject. Further information on marriage, cohabitation and civil partnership can also be found at the Directgov website, which also includes information on civil partnership from the General Register Office.

Civil partnership is still a relatively new legal concept in the United Kingdom and the Civil Partnership Act of 2004 is the overarching legal basis of civil partnerships in the UK. Reading this Act in it’s entirety (or the section pertaining only to your location) may prove difficult, but it is worthwhile to understand the law as it is written. Further help with interpreting this document – and applying to your specific case – can be obtained from an experienced solicitor or from public service sites such as Directgov or the General Register Office.

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