From Wednesday 10 December 2014, couples have been able to convert their existing civil partnership into a marriage. Linzi Bull and Catherine Philps from Harbottle & Lewis explain how.
You will be able to convert your civil partnership to marriage in one of two different ways:
- a simple conversion at a local register office or local authority office; or
- a civil partnership conversion by a superintendent registrar at another approved venue accompanied by a ceremony.
Who can have a civil partnership converted to a marriage?
Anyone who has a civil partnership that is registered in England and Wales or overseas in a consulate or army base (in accordance with UK law).
What is the procedure?
- Both parties must be in attendance at register office or approved venue.
- They must sign a declaration confirming that they are in a civil partnership and that they wish to convert it into a marriage, in the presence of each other and the superintendent registrar.
- The registrar will register the conversion on the conversion register.
- The marriage certificate will then be issued.
What will they need to bring to the register office?
- Proof of ID
- Proof of civil partnership
Where can the two-stage conversion take place?
The conversion and ceremony can take place at a wide range of approved premises such as hotels, stately homes or religious premises which have been registered for the marriage of same-sex couples.
When will the conversion be effective?
The civil partnership conversion will be effective from the moment the couple sign the declaration in the presence of the registrar. The couples will be given a marriage certificate which will show the marriage as existing from the date of the original civil partnership.
How much will it cost?
The cost of the simple conversion will be £45 and additional costs will apply to the two-stage process.
For the first year, couples who formed their civil partnership before 29 March 2014 (the date that marriage was extended to same-sex couples) will be able to receive a £45 fee reduction. This means that until 9 December 2015 couples who formed their civil partnerships before 29 March 2014 will be entitled to a simple conversion, free from costs.
Do you have a legal question concerning same-sex marriage? Ask us – email:[email protected]