We’re pleased to announce that opposite sex civil partnerships will be available in Somerset. Legislation has now made its way through the House of Lords and will come in to force on December 2nd. On that date, we will be able to begin taking notices from couples intending to form a partnership. The first ceremony slots will be available on December 31st. We’ll be contacting couples who’ve registered interest in a partnership to let them know that everything is now in place.
What does this mean, other than a speedy overhaul of our website to make sure that all the wording correctly reflects the new legislation? Well, from New Year’s Eve, both same sex and opposite sex couples now have the right to form a civil partnership or a marriage, depending on their personal preference.
How Do Civil Marriages And Partnerships Compare?
The process for both types of union are broadly the same. Couples are required to give at least 28 days notice of their intention to form a marriage or partnership. Two witnesses will be required to sign the marriage register or partnership schedule. Couples can opt to have a simple ceremony with their witnesses, or a full ceremony with friends and family, music and readings. Both civil marriages and partnerships are required to have no religious elements. The cost of a partnership and a marriage are the same – currently £57 for a simple ceremony and from £150 for a full ceremony depending on the venue and date.
There are a few minor differences to note. Marriages are recorded in paper registers, while partnerships are recorded on an electronic schedule. The declaration and contracting words – the essential legal part of a marriage – must be spoken out loud. However, the equivalent words of a partnership ceremony do not need to be spoken aloud if couples prefer not to. While the legal rights and responsibilities are similar, there are some small differences in the way a partnership can be dissolved. You can compare the two fully in this table on the Gov.uk website
Following a public consultation in the summer, the government are still considering a range of other legislation that will affect marriages and partnerships. This includes the facility to convert opposite sex marriages to civil partnerships. It should be noted that this option is not currently available. Same sex civil partnerships can still be converted to marriages if couples wish.
Where Can You Have a Civil Partnership Ceremony In Somerset?
We offer simple ceremonies for marriages and partnerships at our Taunton, Bridgwater, Weston, Yeovil, Shepton Mallet, and Williton offices. Full ceremonies are available at our Taunton, Weston and Abbey Manor (Yeovil) venues, and over 120 approved premises around Somerset and North Somerset. Browse the full list in our Venue Directory. There’s sure to be somewhere perfect for you.
You can download essential forms and guidance to plan your civil partnership in Somerset in our More Information section. Please bear with us while we update all the relevant information. We’ll be updating this blog with any new information or answers to FAQs that may arise. If you have any queries, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team.