On 5 December 2005, the Civil Partnership Act 2004 came into force. This legislation enables same-sex couples to obtain legal recognition of their relationship. Government estimates show that by 2010 over 22,000 gay and lesbian couples will have taken the plunge with their very own civil partnership ceremonies.
Before registering a civil partnership, notice must be given to the General Register Office. This notice is published for 15 days, giving an opportunity for formal objections to be raised. After 15 days, the Civil Partnership may be registered.
A Civil Partnership can be registered in England and Wales in a register office or approved premises. The Civil Partnership is registered when both parties sign a legal document called a Civil Partnership schedule. This document must be signed in the presence of a Registrar and two witnesses.
Owing to the recent changes in the law, couples in civil partnerships can enjoy many of the same financial privileges as married couples, notably;
There are also many other significant benefits, including;
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