Converting a Civil Partnership into a Same-Sex Marriage

Submitted by Azhar Hussain on Mon, 02/18/2019 - 19:28
same-sex-marriage

The aim of this article is to provide some information regarding the procedures that you would need to apply when you seek to convert your Civil Partnership into a Same-Sex Marriage. There has been a progressive change in the societal view of same-sex marriage, and this has been enshrined within legislation. Since 13th March 2013, the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act 2013, allowed same-sex couples living in England & Wales to marry. This progressive legislation afforded same-sex couples' parity in respect of rights and responsibilities held by opposite-sex couples. There do, however, remain some differences between same-sex and opposite-sex couples, i.e. the fact that same-sex couples cannot rely on the fact of adultery unless it is with a person of an opposite-sex.

 

What Legislation is Important?

There are three pieces of legislation that come to mind when you want to consider this area of law:

  1. Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act 2013 (MA2013); and
  2. The Marriage of Same Sex Couples (Conversion of Civil Partnership) Regulations 2014 (MSSCR2014);
  3. Civil Partnership Act 2004 (CPS2004).

 

Who Can Apply?

The following can apply for the conversion (s.9, MA2013):

  1. Individuals who have registered as civil partners in England & Wales (Part 2, CPA2004);
  2. Individuals who have formed their civil partnership outside the United Kingdom (UK) and this was formed under an Order in Council made under s.210 or 211 CPA2004.

Save for the above, Civil Partnerships formed outside of England & Wales, will continue to fall under the scope of the CPA 2004.

The Two Common Procedures

The Standard Procedure (Regulation 6)

This is a simple and straightforward procedure.

Initially, you must make an appointment to see the Superintendent Registrar at a Register Office.

When attending, you will be required to provide the information outlined within Regulation 4(2). This normally consists of names, sex, dates of birth, addresses, professions, Fathers' forenames, surname, rank or profession. This information would need to be supported by evidence (Schedule 1), i.e. Passport, EEA Identity Card, UK Driving License, Utility Bill, Council Tax Bill etc. Thereafter, the parties and the Superintendent Registrar sign the conversion declaration at the Register Office.

The parties can say the following declaration wording aloud to one another if they wish: "I solemnly and sincerely declare that we are in a civil partnership with each other and I know of no legal reason why we may not convert our civil partnership into a marriage. I understand that on signing this document we will be converting our civil partnership into a marriage and you will thereby become my lawful wife [or husband]".

The declaration also confirms the following "I further declare that to the best of my knowledge and belief, all of the information given on this form, and the information and evidence supplied with this form, is true. I understand that if any of the information is false, I may be liable to prosecution under the Perjury Act 1911".

At the time of writing, there is a fee of £45.00 payable for this service.

 

The Two Stage Procedure - Conversion at Secular/Religious Premises (Regulation 10(2)).

If you want the conversion to take place at an approved secular or religious premises, you would need to follow this two-stage procedure. This is normally the option when you seek friends and family to be present for the conversion ceremony.

In the first stage, you must make an appointment to see the Superintendent Registrar at a Register Office. When attending, you will be required to provide the information outlined within Regulation 4(2). This normally consists of name, sex, date of birth, address, professions, father's forename, surname, rank or profession. This information would need to be supported by evidence (Schedule 1), i.e. Passport, EEA Identity Card, UK Driving License, Utility Bill, Council Tax Bill etc. At the time of writing, there is a fee of £27.00 payable for this service.

The second stage is the signing of the conversion declaration and this is normally followed by a formal ceremony with friends and family in attendance.

Secular Premises

Regulation 11 applies to ceremonies at an approved secular premise. The Superintendent Registrar will normally attend to sign the conversion declaration. If the ceremony is to take place in a different district the Superintendent Registrar will notify the Superintendent Registrar of that district and arrangements will be made for the latter to attend. There will be an additional fee, and these can vary dependant on the local authority.

Religious Premises

Regulation 12 applies to those at an approved religious premise. This would normally only proceed if the religious organisation has agreed. The Superintendent Registrar may seek for evidence to be provided in this regard.

The religious ceremony would normally take place in the following:

  1. Naval, military air force chapel registered to solemnise same sex marriages and where a ceremony will take place so long as you meet the requirements of s.68(2) of the Marriage Act 1949;
  2. Religious building registered for same sex marriage and where a religious blessing will follow the conversion (s.46 Marriage act 1949);
  3. Premises where you will have a Jewish/Quaker ceremony after the conversion (s.46 Marriage Act 1949).

The parties can choose to state the following declaration: "I solemnly and sincerely declare that we are in a civil partnership with each other and I know of no legal reason why we may not convert our civil partnership into a marriage. I understand that on signing this document we will be converting our civil partnership into a marriage and you will thereby become my lawful wife [or husband].".

The declaration also confirms the following: "I further declare that to the best of my knowledge and belief, all of the information given on this form, and the information and evidence supplied with this form, is true. I understand that if any of the information is false, I may be liable to prosecution under the Perjury Act 1911".

The declaration also confirms the following: "I further declare that to the best of my knowledge and belief, all of the information given on this form, and the information and evidence supplied with this form, is true. I understand that if any of the information is false, I may be liable to prosecution under the Perjury Act 1911".

At the time of writing, there is an additional fee of £91.00 payable for this service.

 

Marriage Certificate

It is possible for you to apply for a Marriage Certificate and at the time of writing there is a fee of £4.00 (Regulation 18(4)). This will confirm that the marriage has existed from the date of the civil partnership and the document itself would be a certified copy of the entry placed in the conversion register by the Superintendent Registrar.

 

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The author of the article is our solicitor - Azhar Hussain, who is also Head of Family Department.

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