The Marriage of Same Sex Couples (Conversion of Civil Partnership) Regulations 2014
The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 provisions come into force today for Civil Partnerships in England and Wales (Scottish civil partners must wait until 16 December 2014) enabling civil partners to convert their civil partnership into marriage. The provisions also enable a couple to remain married where one or both of them change legal gender and both members wish to remain married. But, for those couples in Northern Ireland, no such provisions come into force.
What you need to do
If you are in a civil partnership and want to convert it to a marriage there are a number of requirements. In brief, the Superintendent Registrar who deals with the application will need from each party:
date of birth;
rank or profession;
father’s forenames, surname, and rank or profession;
Furthermore, the parties must also jointly provide details of—
the date and place of the formation of their civil partnership; and
the place at which it is proposed that the conversion declaration will be made.
There are two main options for the conversion process:
The first is the ‘Standard Procedure’. Here, the process can be conducted at any register office. Both civil partners should attend together with the documents referred to above and their certificate of civil partnership. They then sign a legal declaration – the ‘Conversion Declaration’ in front of the Superintendent Registrar. In doing so, they declare that neither has previously dissolved the Civil Partnership, and that they want it to be converted into a marriage so that they become each other’s husband or wife. Once declared, then the Registrar issues them with a Marriage certificate.
Alternatively, there is a ‘Two Stage Procedure’. Here the couple firstly provide their identification documents at the Register office together with their civil partnership certificate. Then, the couple has 12 months from that date to sign the Declaration in front of a Superintendent Registrar at an ‘approved venue’ – which can include religious premises.
The Marriage Certificate will be treated as though in place from the date of the original Civil Partnership. So if asked ‘When did you marry?’ the answer is to give is the same date as the civil partnership.
There is no change to the legal status of the couple when conversion takes place. For example, if you convert to a married couple it does not revoke any existing will.
For the first year, so until 10/12/15, the fee is reduced by £45 for couples who became civil partners after 29 March 2014.
Marriage is not compulsory
Civil partnership ceremonies can still be celebrated, and there is no provision for the automatic conversion of a civil partnership into marriage.
If you would like further information or advice on this or any family law issue, please do not hesitate to contact us at Paradigm Family Law on 0845 6020422 or email us at [email protected].