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Converting a civil partnership to marriage

From 16 December 2014, couples in a Scottish civil partnership will be able to convert their civil partnership to a marriage in Scotland if they wish.

Many couples will want to be married, while many others prefer civil partnership. You can keep your civil partnership if you prefer, and new civil partnerships will continue to be available as an alternative to marriage in Scotland. At present however only same-sex couples can register a civil partnership (we are campaigning for this to be available to all couples regardless of gender).

People in a civil partnership (civil union, registered partnership etc) registered in another country may be also able to convert their civil partnership to marriage in Scotland. But this will not be available until around spring 2015, because the Scottish Government are still working on the details.

How to convert a civil partnership to marriage

If you do decide to convert your civil partnership to marriage, there are two ways you can do this:

  • By ceremony:

You can convert your civil partnership to marriage by marrying in the usual way, with a civil, religious or belief ceremony. For more information about  how to organise your ceremony see here.

  • By the administrative route:

Alternatively you can make an appointment with the local registrar, show up with photo ID (e.g. passport, driving licence etc), and get a marriage certificate there and then without a ceremony. You may decide that you prefer this option if you feel your original civil partnership ceremony was the only ceremony you need!

In either case, legally your marriage will be treated as having started on the date you registered your civil partnership, and the marriage certificate you get will state that your marriage is treated as having started on that earlier date.

How much does it cost?

If you decide option one, that you want to convert your civil partnership to marriage by marrying in the usual way with a ceremony, then you will need to pay the standard fee for the type of marriage ceremony you choose.

If you decide option two, the administrative route, then the cost will depend on when you got your civil partnership and when you choose to convert it to marriage:

If your civil partnership started before the new law comes into effect on 16 December 2014, and you choose to convert your civil partnership to marriage within a year, that is, before 16 December 2015, then the conversion will be free. If you want a copy of the marriage certificate then you will have to pay a £10 charge for that.

If you entered your civil partnership after 16 December 2014, or you choose to convert your civil partnership after 16 December 2015, then you will need to pay the standard fee in Scotland for converting a civil partnership to marriage by the administrative route, which is £30, plus £10 for a copy of the marriage certificate.