Civil Partnerships

What is civil partnership?
Forming a civil partnership
Register offices in Wiltshire and Swindon
Changing names
Ending a civil partnership
More information

What is civil partnership?

Civil partnership provides a way for same-sex couples to receive the same legal recognition for their relationship as marriage provides to heterosexuals. Even so, it is not marriage. Instead there exist two separate systems: marriage for mixed-sex couples and civil partnership for same-sex couples.

Civil partnership provides important rights and responsibilities. For example:

  • If your civil partner died intestate (without a will) you would be recognised under the rules set out for intestacy.
  • Your employer will have to recognise your civil partner in terms of employment benefits, such as pensions.
  • If your civil partner is not a British national, they would be recognised for immigration and nationality purposes.

Forming a civil partnership

To form a civil partnership, you must do the following:

  1. Decide whether you want to have a ceremony in addition to the registration process (a ceremony is not required under the Civil Partnership Act).
  2. Decide where you want to register the partnership and arrange it with the register office or other approved venue.
  3. You and your partner then must give notice in person (at a register office) in the area(s) where you have lived for at least seven days. The giving of notice must take place at least 15 days before the registration. During this �waiting period�, your intention to form a civil partnership will be made public by the register office (as for marriage), but the details won�t include your address(es).
  4. Attend the register office or other venue you�ve chosen on the day and sign the civil partnership document in the presence of a registrar and two witnesses (and have the ceremony if you chose to include one).


Fees are charged for giving notice and for the partnership registration itself � your register office will tell you how much these fees are. Additional charges will be made by the venue if you choose to register at an approved venue other than a register office.

Register offices in Wiltshire and Swindon

ChippenhamThe Register Office
4 Timber Street
Chippenham SN15 3BZ
01249 654361
DevizesThe Register Office
The Beeches
Bath Road
Devizes SN10 2AL
01380 722162
SalisburyThe Register Office
The Laburnums
50 Bedwin Street
Salisbury SP1 3UW
0300 003 4571
SwindonSwindon Register Office
Aspen House
Temple Street
Swindon SN1 1SQ
01793 521734
TrowbridgeThe Register Office
The Chestnuts
Bythesea Road
Trowbridge BA14 8EZ
01225 713097
WarminsterThe Register Office
3 The Avenue
Warminster BA12 9AB
01985 213435


A ceremony is not required under the Civil Partnership Act, but it is up to you to decide if you want to include one. As it has no legal significance, you can decide on the content and wording. The Association of Registration & Celebratory Services has released a suggested ceremony � click here to read it.

Changing names

After becoming civil partners, you may want to change your surname to your partner's (or double-barrel both names). Government agencies such as the Passport Agency and the DVLA will accept civil partnership certificates in the same way they accept marriage certificates as evidence of a change in name.

Ending a civil partnership

A civil partnership should not be entered into lightly. If things went wrong, a court-based procedure would have to be carried out called dissolution (basically the same as divorce).

More information

For more information on civil partnerships, visit the Women & Equality Unit or the General Register Office.