Family Law Blog

How to convert your civil partnership into marriage

03 December 2014, by Taylor King Family Law Solicitors

From 10th December 2014 anyone who has a civil partnership registered in England and Wales will be able to convert their civil partnership into a marriage.

This can be achieved by either having a conversion at the local registry office or local authority office or a conversion by a superintendent registrar at another approved venue, e.g. hotels, stately homes or some religious premises,  accompanied by a ceremony. The civil partners will need proof of ID and proof of the civil partnership.

Both parties must be in attendance at the conversion and, in the presence of each other and the superintendent registrar,  they both must sign a declaration confirming they are in a civil partnership and wish to convert it into a marriage. The registrar will register the conversion on the conversion register and the marriage certificate will be issued.

The cost of the simple conversion will be £45. However for the first year couples who have entered into a civil partnership prior to 29th March 2014 (the date that marriage was available for same sex couples) will be able to covert their civil partnership for free.

Same sex marriage legalised

19 July 2013, by Taylor King Family Law Solicitors

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 has now come into effect. The Act will:

  1. allow same sex couples to marry in civil ceremonies;
  2. allow same sex couples to marry in religious ceremonies, where the religious organisations has ‘opted in’ to conduct such ceremonies and the minister of religion agrees;
  3. protect those religious organisations and their representatives who do not wish to conduct marriages of same sex couples from successful legal challenge;
  4. enable civil partners to convert their partnership to a marriage if they wish;
  5. enable married individuals to change their legal gender without having to end their marriage.

It is expected that the first same sex weddings will take place in the summer of 2014. The arrangements for allowing civil partners to covert their partnership to a marriage will however take longer to implement.

Capacity to Marry

17 February 2013, by Taylor King Family Law Solicitors

In order for a marriage to be valid both parties must give their consent. Failure to give valid consent “whether in consequence of duress, mistake, unsoundness of mind or otherwise” will render the marriage voidable (section 12(c) Matrimonial Causes Act 1973).

In the recent case of Re SK [2013] EWHC 1990 (COP) Bodey J declared that a man in his 50s was not capable of understanding the implications of marriage and his marriage was therefore invalid. He stated that the man “did not have the capacity freely to decide to enter into a marriage”.

The man had resumed a relationship with his childhood sweetheart in 2007 but had suffered a brain injury in 2008 after being hit by a bus. The marriage ceremony took place in 2010. Bodey J acknowledged that the man had a “deceptive social veneer” and the registrar who conducted the ceremony had believed the man understood the situation.

Whilst the man was capable of engaging in everyday conversations he was only able to remember the fact he was married or the identity of his wife for short periods of time.

The woman had subsequently attempted to take the man from the care home in which he was residing to live with her. However, the local authority applied to the courts for his return. Bodey J ruled in favour of the local authority who also sought to invalidate the marriage.