Civil partnership – Opposite sex couples

Civil partnerships were introduced in December 2005 to allow same sex couples to form a union with similar rights to marriage. In March 2014 marriage law was changed to allow same sex couples to marry with the option of a civil partnership remaining in place. This means that same sex couples currently have two options when forming a union, marriage or civil partnership, while opposite sex couples only have the option of marriage.

The Civil Partnerships (Opposite-sex Couples) Regulations 2019, which extend the option to form a civil partnerships to opposite sex couples, were approved in Parliament and made on 5 November 2019.  The regulations will come into force on 2 December 2019.

Before a couple can marry / form a civil partnership they must give notice of their intention. The standard notice period is 28 days. Under the standard notice procedure a couple giving notice of their intention to form a civil partnership on 2 December will be able to form their partnership on 31 December 2019.

Information on the differences between civil partnership and marriage can be found here.


This page will be updated as information is released.