The Civil Partnerships (Opposite-sex Couples) – Regulations 2019 approved

The Civil Partnerships (Opposite-sex Couples) Regulations 2019, which extend eligibility for forming civil partnerships to opposite sex couples, were approved in Parliament and made on 5 November 2019.

The regulations will come into force, allowing opposite sex couples to give Notice for a Civil Partnership, on 2 December 2019 and then, following the required waiting period, allowing opposite sex Civil Partnerships to take place from Tuesday 31 December 2019.

If you are an opposite sex couple wanting a Civil Partnership, please contact the Ceremony Co-ordination Team on 01665 602870 for further advice.

Arrangements for Civil Partnerships for same sex couples remains unchanged.

All couples can now choose either a marriage or a civil partnership and deciding which one to choose is a personal decision.

The Registration Service is unable to give any advice on the validity of any marriage or civil partnership, or of the benefits of choosing either a marriage or a civil partnership. If you are unsure of the implications on issues such as inheritance or your personal finances, then you should seek independent legal or financial advice to help you choose whether to form a marriage or a civil partnership.

 

 

Planning your Civil Partnership

 

  1. Choose your venue

Choosing where to say your vows is one of the first (and most exciting) decisions that you’ll make about your day and will set the tone for the whole event. In Northumberland, we’re lucky to have over 70 licensed venues and Register Offices, so finding something to suit your style and budget is simple. All of our licensed locations can be found over on our Venues page.

Once you have chosen your venue, book your Registrar as soon as possible, even if it is a few years in advance of your ceremony.

 

  1. Book the Registrar

Call our Ceremony Co-ordination team on 01665 602870 to book your Registrar.

If you have decided to have a combined naming and civil partnership, please let the Registrar know at this point.

When you book the Registrar, you will need to pay a non-refundable booking fee. You will find the pricing for this below:

If you change the date, time or venue of your ceremony, you will need to pay an amendment fee, which will be charged at the current rate.

 

  1. Give notice (legal preliminaries)

Giving notice is a legal requirement. By giving notice, partners are legally declaring they intend to form a civil partnership. Both partners must do this individually in the registration district where they live and they must have lived there for at least the past nine consecutive days. The notice can be given up to 12 months before the ceremony, however we would recommend that you do it as soon as possible.

If you live in Northumberland, you can give notice at one of our Register Offices. Call our Ceremony Co-ordination team on 01665 602 870 to make an appointment. If you live outside Northumberland, you will need to contact your local authority.

The appointment will last about 30 minutes for each person and we will need the following:

  • A valid passport or full birth certificate (showing parents’ details) accompanied by a parents birth certificate in some circumstances
  • Proof of address (a bank statement dated within one month, a utility bill dated within three months or a council tax bill dated within 12 months)
  • If applicable, a decree absolute or death certificate for any previous marriage (if the divorce was obtained outside of the British Isles, a fee of up to £75 is payable for it to be considered)
  • For a previous civil partnership, we require a dissolution document (if the dissolution was obtained outside of the British Isles, a fee of up to £75 is payable for it to be considered)
  • Any name change document if you have  legally changed your name. You may also need previous marriage certificates/civil partnership record to show a previous name.

Please discuss the documents you will require when booking your appointment.

The fee to give notice is £35 per person.

A notice of civil partnership will be displayed in the Morpeth Register Office for 28 full days. If we don’t receive an objection, then a schedule will be produced on the 29th day.

 

  1. Plan your day

From readings, poems and music, to personal promises, there are lots of ways for you to personalise the day of your civil partnership. For inspiration, head over to our Your Northumberland Wedding page, or browse some of our Suppliers.

After you have given notice of civil partnership, we will send you a ceremony arrangement pack.

Please remember that yours is a civil ceremony and there should be no religious content.

 

  1. Pay your fees and return your ceremony form

Once you have completed your Ceremony Arrangement Form, please return it to us at least six weeks before your ceremony. Please include payment for any outstanding fees and anything that your conducting Registrar will need for the ceremony, such as readings.

At this point, it is useful for us to know if you would like extra copies of your civil partnership certificate. If so, please let us know on the bottom of your ceremony form.

Please return your completed Ceremony Arrangement Form

By email: alnwickreg@northumberland.gov.uk

Or by post
The Ceremony Co-ordination Team
The Register Office
27 Fenkle Street
Alnwick
NE66 1HW

Your fees can be paid over the phone by credit or debit card (01665 602870) or by cheque.

Cheques will need to be made payable to ‘Northumberland County Council’ and sent to the above address.

 

  1. What happens on the day of your ceremony?

The Registrars will arrive approximately 30 minutes before the start of the ceremony. Once they arrive, they will check any last-minute arrangements and speak to anyone playing a part in the ceremony to ensure everything runs smoothly.

We will also speak to your photographer/videographer to confirm that we are happy for them to discreetly capture the entire ceremony. The only exception will be the actual signing of the registers, but we will set up a ‘pretend signing’ immediately after for photographs.

Things to remember:

  • Your ceremony should start promptly to ensure our Registrars can travel safely to their next wedding
  • We reserve the right to leave your ceremony if we feel the following ceremony will be compromised – this decision will not be taken lightly and we will always consult with you and the venue first
  • Bring any of your own promises and readings with you on the day
  • Any music should be given directly to the venue, who will be able to advise on the right format

 

Copies of your certificate

A commemorative certificate is available free of charge at the end of your ceremony on the day.

You will receive your civil partnership certificate after your partnership is recorded in the register. This is done the next working day after your ceremony and the certificate will be posted out to you.

 

Converting a civil partnership into a marriage

​Couples are now able to convert an existing civil partnership into a same sex marriage. The process is very simple and only takes about 15 minutes. You will be asked to attend a Register Office and you will both sign a declaration.

Although there is no statutory ceremony following a conversion of a civil partnership into a marriage, some couples may wish to invite family and friends to join them on the day and include a ceremony to mark the occasion.

To discuss any aspect of converting a civil partnership into a marriage, including ceremony options and readings to make your day extra special, please contact our Ceremony Co-ordination team.