Guidance on civil partnerships in Northern Ireland
The Civil Partnership Act 2004 enables same-sex couples to get legal recognition of their relationship. Couples who form a civil partnership have a new legal status, that of 'civil partner'. Civil partners have equal treatment to married couples in a wide range of legal matters.
Who can enter into civil partnerships in Northern Ireland?
Any two people, regardless of where they live, may enter into a civil partnership in Northern Ireland, provided that:
- both are at least 16 years of age on the day of their marriage - anyone under 18 will need permission from their parent or guardian
- they are not related to one another in a way which would prevent their civil partnership registration
- they are unmarried or are not already in a civil partnership (any person who has already been married or in a civil partnership must produce documentary evidence that the previous marriage has been ended by death, divorce or annulment, or the previous civil partnership has been dissolved)
- they are of the same sex
- they are capable of understanding what a civil partnership
Types of relationship within which civil partnership is unlawful
Civil partnership registration may not possible if the parties are related.
Circumstances where a civil partnership is not possible
Two people cannot enter into a civil partnership if they are related to each other by being a:
- adoptive child
- adoptive parent
- former adoptive child
- former adoptive parent
- parent’s sibling
- sibling’s child
In the list the term 'sibling' means a brother, sister, half-brother or half-sister.
Circumstances where a civil partnership may be possible
Two people cannot enter into a civil partnership if one falls within the following list in relation to the other. However, there are some exceptions:
- child of former civil partner
- child of former spouse
- former civil partner of grandparent
- former civil partner of parent
- former spouse of grandparent
- former spouse of parent
- grandchild of former civil partner
- grandchild of former spouse
- both of them have reached 21 at the time when they register as civil partners of each other, and
- the younger has not at any time before reaching 18 lived in the same household as that other person, and been treated by that other person as a child of his/her family
Your rights as a civil partner
As a civil partner you have the right to equal treatment as a married couple in a wide range of legal matters.
You can find out more about your rights at the link below.
It is important to make early arrangements for the date and time of your civil partnership registration. In order to obtain the date of your choice, you should plan well in advance to avoid disappointment.
You can find out more about making arrangements for a civil partnership at the link below.
The onus is on the couple to provide an interpreter who will be required to sign a declaration that he/she is able to understand the language in respect of which he/she is to act as an interpreter at the civil partnership registration.
After the registration, the interpreter must give the person registering the civil partnership a certificate written in English and signed by the interpreter that he/she has faithfully acted as interpreter at the civil partnership proceedings.
An objection to a civil partnership can be lodged with the Registrar at any time between the notice being submitted and the registration taking place.
You can contact the Registrar for more information.
Penalty for making a false statement
A person, who makes a false statement for the purpose of registering or preventing a civil partnership is guilty of perjury and could be liable for prosecution.