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Conversion of a civil partnership to marriage

From 29 March 2014, the law has allowed for marriage ceremonies for same sex couples. The law also allows for those couples in a civil partnership the option to convert this to a marriage if they chose. This option came into effect on 10 December 2014.

To take advantage of this procedure your civil partnership must have been registered in England or Wales. It does not apply to those registered in Scotland or any country outside the United Kingdom.

There are two options available to couples - the "standard (one stage) procedure" and the "two stage" procedure.

Standard (one stage) procedure

The standard (one stage) procedure requires couples to attend together at a registration office, but this can be any registration office in England and Wales. You will need to make an appointment and produce the required evidence of your name, date of birth, address and civil partnership certificate to complete a declaration and sign the document.

Once the document has been signed the marriage is recorded and a certificate will then be issued. At this standard procedure there will not be a ceremony - however you may decide at a later date to have a celebratory ceremony which would be totally separate from the above process. We will be happy to discuss and arrange this for you.

Two stage procedure

The two stage procedure includes a ceremony as part of the process but still require couples to attend together at a registration office, but this can be any registration office in England and Wales. You will need to make an appointment to produce the required evidence of your name, date of birth, address and civil partnership certificate in order to complete the declaration about yourselves as outlined above. However, you will not sign the declaration at that time. The signing of the document takes place at the second stage of the procedure - the celebratory ceremony.

The signing of the declaration may take place at a range of venues, such as:

  • Approved venues for marriages or civil partnerships anywhere in England or Wales;
  • A registration service office anywhere in England or Wales;
  • Religious buildings registered for the marriage of same sex couples where a ceremony under Section 46 of the Marriage Act 1946 is to immediately follow the conversion into marriage; or
  • Premises where a ceremony according to the Jewish faith or the Society of Friends is to immediately follow the conversion.

Couples who wish to sign their conversion declaration at a registration office in a different district from where the declaration has been given can do so under the two stage procedure.

Please note - the signing of the declaration must take place within 12 months of making the declaration, otherwise it will expire. Until or unless the declaration is signed it will not be recorded and a marriage certificate cannot be issued until that time.

Fees

For details of the fees, please see our registration service fees page.

This page was last updated on 17 November 2015