Entering into a civil partnership

Entering into a civil partnership

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Entering into a civil partnership

Civil partnerships enable couples to get legal recognition of their relationship without having to get married. They originally applied only to same-sex couples, but have since been extended to opposite-sex couples in England & Wales (December 2019) and Northern Ireland (January 2020). The extension doesn't yet apply in Scotland, though it is planned.

Civil partners have equal treatment to married couples in a wide range of legal matters, including:

  • Tax, including Inheritance Tax
  • Employment benefits
  • Most state and occupational pension benefits
  • Income-related benefits, tax credits and child support
  • Duty to provide reasonable maintenance for your civil partner and any children of the family
  • Ability to apply for parental responsibility for your civil partner's child (England and Wales only)
  • Inheritance of a tenancy agreement
  • Recognition under intestacy rules
  • Access to damages or compensation
  • Protection from domestic violence
  • Recognition for immigration and nationality purposes

Minimum age for entering into a civil partnership

The minimum age at which you can enter into a civil partnership varies, depending on where you live:

  • In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, you can enter into a civil partnership from the age of 16 if you have parental consent. However, without parental consent, you can enter into a civil partnership once you reach the age of 18.
  • In Scotland, you can enter into a civil partnership from the age of 16, with or without parental consent.

Considerations before entering into a civil partnership

There are many things to consider before entering into a civil partnership, such as:

In this section of the law guide, we explore all of these issues relating to entering into a civil partnership. Click on the links on the left hand side of the page to find out more information on all of these topics relating to your civil partnership.

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