If you are in a civil partnership and want to be married instead, you do not need to end your civil partnership first. Instead, there is an established legal process that allows you to quickly and easily convert your civil partnership into a marriage.
What you need to do to convert your civil partnership into a marriage
To transfer from a civil partnership to a marriage, you and your partner need to sign a ‘conversion into marriage’ declaration. You can do this at your local register office by making an appointment with the superintendent registrar.
When signing the declaration, you will need your original civil partnership certificate and both of you will need ID. You should consult the register office about exactly what ID they require, but this will usually be a birth certificate, passport or driving licence and a recent utility bill or bank statement.
As part of the process you will receive a marriage certificate, which will be dated to when your civil partnership was formed, rather than the date you converted to a marriage. However, the date of the conversion will also be included. This marriage certificate replaces your civil partnership certificate.
Where you can convert your civil partnership into a marriage
You can convert your civil partnership into a marriage at your local register office, a local registration office or at any premises where same sex marriage is allowed. Many people choose to have a ceremony when converting to marriage, which is why wedding venues are a popular choice.
How much it costs
The basic cost of converting to a marriage is £45 for the conversion itself and £4 for a marriage certificate. You will also pay £27 for an appointment with the registrar, if you choose to have a ceremony.
Does converting to marriage from a civil partnership affect your rights?
Married people have essentially the same rights as those in a civil partnership, for example to inherit property from their partner or to be granted parental responsibility for any children they have together.
The only real difference is that the grounds for divorce are slightly different than those for dissolving a civil partnership. Adultery is grounds for divorce, but not for ending a civil partnership – however, unfaithfulness is current only classed as adultery if it is between people of opposite genders. Otherwise, unfaithfulness is classed as ‘unreasonable behaviour’.
Other things to consider
One thing to think about when converting to marriage from a civil partnership is whether to create a pre-nuptial agreement. This can protect both your interests and those of your partner in the event your relationship was to end.
If you already have a pre-registration agreement from before you entered your civil partnership, it is worth taking legal advice on what action you need to take to ensure this remains valid.
Crisp & Co’s experts in LGBTQI family law can help make the process of converting your civil partnership into a marriage as simple and straightforward as possible. We can assist you with all of the necessary paperwork and also advise you on any other issues that may be worth considering, such as a pre-nuptial agreement.
To find out more, call us today on 020 3797 4952 or get in touch using the enquiry form below.