From Monday, December 2, opposite sex couples can give their notice of intent to form a civil partnership.
The signing of the schedule or a ceremony can then take place from New Year’s Eve, Tuesday, December 31.
A civil partnership is a contract which must be signed in the presence of two witnesses, whereas, legally, a marriage must involve a ceremony with public declarations by both parties.
For the past 15 years, civil partnerships were exclusive to same sex couples, as until the introduction of same sex marriage in 2014 there was no other way to formalise their relationship as only opposite sex couples could marry.
Lesley Sim, head of libraries, heritage and registration at the county council, said: “The announcement of civil partnerships for opposite sex couples is great news and allows people who wish to show their lifelong commitment to their partner to do so without having to have an official marriage ceremony.
“Our registrars are ready and waiting to perform civil partnerships and help more people create a union that is just right for them.”
The West Sussex County Council ceremonies team is available to give couples further advice and take bookings.
There is still availability for couples to book a notice of intent on Monday, December 2, for a civil partnership to take place on New Year’s Eve. To find your nearest registration office, visit: westsussex.gov.uk/registration