When Can Opposite-Sex Couples Be Able To Register A Civil Partnership?


2 December 2019

By Farhad Islam

We have had a few questions recently from curious clients about when opposite-sex couples will be able to register a civil partnership.

Opposite-sex couples will be able to register civil partnerships in England and Wales from 31 December 2019, after secondary legislation was approved in the House of Lords on 5 November 2019.  

Civil partnerships were originally created to enable same-sex couples to formalise their relationships at a time when marriage was not available to them. The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 then gave same-sex couples the right to marry.

On 2 October 2018, the Prime Minister announced the change in law to allow opposite sex couples in England and Wales to enter into a civil partnership.

Civil Partnership (Opposite-sex Couples) Regulations 2019 amends the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act 2013 so that, for now, only same-sex couples will be able to convert their civil partnerships to marriage. 

Extending civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples will:

  • Enable such couples to have a personal choice of the type of legal recognition of their relationship, without the traditional associations of a marriage.
  • Remove unfairness, as all couples will have the same options for formalising their relationships.
  • Give long-term cohabiting, opposite-sex couples who do not want to marry the opportunity to gain rights, protections and recognition, encouraging stable family relationships.
  • Mean that being in a civil partnership would no longer effectively be a declaration of sexual orientation.
  • Enable couples to remain in a civil partnership if one partner changes their legal gender.

The process for registering a civil partnership or a marriage requires for you and your partner to each give notice of your intention to the local Register Office where you live. 

This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.

All of our family lawyers are members of Resolution and will be happy to assist you with any Family Law issues. For a free initial consultation please telephone on 01245 228106 or email Family@gepp.co.uk