0402 809 548 rewagner@bigpond.com

CIVIL PARNERSHIPS

Robyn Wagner Celebrations

On 6 April, 2016 I was thrilled to receive the qualification of a Civil Partnership Notary, which grants me the authority by Queensland law, to perform Civil Partnerships in Queensland.

Below is some brief information on Civil Partnerships. Please feel free to contact me any time for further informatiion or to discuss us working together to plan a fun and memorable Civil Partnership for you and your partner.

What is a civil partnership?

A civil partnership may be entered into by couples, regardless of sex. There are two ways to enter a civil partnership.

1) A couple can apply to Births Deaths and Marriages in Brisbane, to register a civil partnership by submitting Form 15 – Application to register a civil partnership, or

2) A couple may hold a civil partnership declaration ceremony (officiated by a Civil Partnerships Notary), and have their relationship registered as a civil partnership, by submitting Form 18a – Notice of intention to enter into a civil partnership.

The Civil Partnerships Act 2011, Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 2003 and their associated regulations prescribe the criteria, rules and processes for a couple to have their civil partnership officially registered in Queensland.

Legal effect of a civil partnership

A civil partnership is a legally recognised relationship between two adults, regardless of their sex.

Registration of a civil partnership provides both partners with proof of the existence of their relationship. Once civil partners have registered their relationship they do not have to provide any further proof of their relationship. An official standard civil partnership certificate is a legally recognised document.

This can be helpful in terms of proving a relationship to satisfy a range of laws, for example, in relation to superannuation, tax and government assistance.

A civil partnership entered into by a couple without a declaration ceremony will take effect from the date of registration.

A civil partnership entered into with a declaration ceremony will take effect (once registered) from the date the civil partnership declaration ceremony was held.

Distinction between a marriage and a civil partnership

There is also a distinction between marriages and civil partnerships. A marriage is governed by the Commonwealth and the Marriage Act 1961 and must be a union between a man and a woman. A civil partnership may be entered into by any adult, regardless of sex, and is governed by Queensland’s Civil Partnerships Act 2011.

It is important to note that a civil partnership may not be recognised by jurisdictions other than Queensland and the Commonwealth.

While marriages are legally recognised throughout Australia (and in most overseas jurisdictions), whether a civil partnership is recognised is subject to the legislation of a particular jurisdiction.

Registration plus declaration ceremony

  1. A couple having a declaration ceremony with a CPN must lodge a Form 18a – Notice of intention to enter into a civil partnership with that CPN and the registrar of BDM. A couple having a declaration ceremony with the registrar or registrar’s delegate – BDM or Queensland Magistrates Court, only provides Form 18a to the registrar of BDM. Proof of ID for each partner and evidence that at least 1 of the couple lives in Queensland must be provided on the lodgement of Form 18a, regardless of who the couple choses to perform the function of CPN.

 

  1. As soon as practicable after receiving Form 18a – Notice of Intention to enter into a civil partnership, the CPN must give each partner a Form 16 – Written notice setting out the legal effect of a civil partnership.

 

  1. The civil partnership declaration ceremony must occur no more than 12 months after the day the Form 18a is given to the CPN. The declaration ceremony cannot take place until 10 clear days have passed since Form 18a is provided to the CPN. This means, if a CPN receives Form 18a on the 1st of a month, the earliest they can conduct the declaration ceremony would be the 12th of that month.

 

  1. Once registered, the civil partnership will take effect from the date the declaration ceremony was held.

 

  1. Only an authorised CPN may conduct a declaration ceremony.

Who can enter a civil partnership?

A civil partnership may be entered into by couples, regardless of sex. Sections 4 and 5 of the Act state that any two adults (aged 18 years or over) may enter into a civil partnership provided:

1) at least one partner lives in Queensland

2) either party is not married to another person

3) either party is not already in a civil partnership in Queensland or a relationship registered under the following Acts (that is taken to be a Queensland civil partnership):

  1. Relationships Register Act 2010 (NSW)
  2. Relationships Act 2008 (Vic)
  3. Relationships Act 2003 (Tas); and
  4. Domestic Relationships Act 1994 (ACT).

They are not in a prohibited relationship with their proposed civil partner (i.e. parent, grandparent, sibling, half-sibling).

Cooling-off period

The cooling-off period applies to civil partnership registrations under section 7 of the Act. The cooling-off period is the period ending 10 clear days after a Form 15 – Application to register a civil partnership and accompanying documents are given to the registrar of BDM.

During the cooling-off period, one or both persons who intended to enter into a civil partnership may withdraw the application using the Form 17 – Withdraw an application to register a civil partnership.