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Civil partnership conversion to marriage

Will these changes affect those who have entered a civil partnership?

No (other than giving them the option to convert their partnership into a marriage at a later stage, if they wish).

Will civil partnerships still be available?

Currently, yes. A consultation regarding the future of CP is in progress.

Why won’t civil partnerships now be available to opposite sex couples?

The Act was about removing the unfairness to same sex couples who could not marry rather than looking at civil partnership provision. However, as part of the provisions of the Act, the government is reviewing the operation and future of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 in England and Wales in a consultation.

Converting a civil partnership into marriage – why is this provision being offered?

Some of the couples who have formed civil partnerships may have chosen marriage had that option been available. This provision ensures that they will now have that option, although there will be no obligation to do so.

Will the couple need to go through a marriage ceremony?

The conversion process will not be a marriage ceremony. Couples will be able to attend a register office and undertake an administrative process to convert the civil partnership to a marriage. A ceremony will be optional.

How much will it cost to convert?

There will be no cost to the couple if the CP took place before 29th March 2014. This applies for a 12 month period. However, there is nothing to stop couples having an optional ceremony alongside the legal process, if they wish. Any additional ceremony which a couple wishes to have will incur a separate cost to the couple. This may be possible at the register office or in approved premises (eg a hotel).

In addition, a couple would be free to arrange a religious blessing in religious or secular premises if they wish. The relevant religious organisation and relevant minister would need to agree to do this.

Will the conversion require applying to GRO or to the local registration service?

Couples can apply to their local registration office to book an appointment for the conversion. This does not have to be in the same registration district the CP originally took place. The Provisional date for the first conversion to take place is 10th December 2014. Please call 0345 155 1002 for more information.