Pink Weddings Magazine Autumn/Winter 2016 - Page 68

SolicitorS Making the switch Changing your civil partnership to marriage need not be complicated says solicitor Daniel Dickson, who tells you all you need to know It’s been just under three years now since the law changed officially to allow same-sex couples in England and Wales to get married. The changes in the law now allow couples to choose to have either a civil partnership or a marriage, and to change the former into the latter. The changes were implemented to bring parity between same-sex couples and any other couple. The process of changing a partnership to a marriage couldn’t be simpler either. There is no need to have another ceremony (but couples can, of course, if they wish) and the date of the marriage does not change to the date of conversion – it remains the date that the civil partnership was held. Civil partnerships can be changed to marriage at a register office, or at any approved/religious premises that allows for same-sex marriages. All that you and your partner would need to do is sign a ‘conversion into marriages’ declaration. Standard documents such as the civil partnership certification and ID would of course be needed. Strictly from a legal perspective, there are no differences between civil partnerships and marriages. However, for same-sex couples that live outside England and Wales, there are some differences present. For example, if you and your partner lived abroad, restrictions can sometimes apply in 68 » pink weddings magazine countries where same-sex marriage is legal – but you will need to check with a solicitor, or with the embassy of the country you are travelling to. This will also apply when filling out official forms, where marital status is often asked. When considering the potential difficulties for same-sex couples who may consider living and working abroad, it’s perhaps no wonder that more and more couples are now considering the switch to marriage – even if it’s just for another big day of celebration! When thinking about the switch, it would also be a sensible time to think about nuptial agreements. Compared to pre-nuptial agreements, post-nuptials agreements can be made while a couple are already married. So after changing to married status, it might be sensible to discuss with your partner an agreement which would determine how you and your partner’s assets should be dealt with, should you decide to separate further down the line. Nu ptial agreements should be viewed as a positive discussion for a couple to have. Communication between you and your partner is usually strengthened during the process and when it comes down to it, it is always nice to have a degree of certainty. Daniel Dickson is a solicitor at Howlett Clarke, who have an expert family law team. They can provide advice on matters from civil partnerships and marriage, to nuptial agreements and even divorce and separation. Call today on 01273 258 501 to find out more. www.howlettclarke.co.uk ‘ere is no need to have another ceremony... and the date of the marriage does not change to the date of conversion.’