Ask the Lawyer: Can we convert our marriage to a civil partnership?

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PinkNews brings you the latest in a series of features which sees your real questions answered by leading lawyers at Simpson Millar.

The question comes from a reader who after marrying his husband, wants to convert to be in a civil partnership.

Ask the Lawyer: Can we convert our marriage to a civil partnership?

He asks: “I got married to my husband earlier this year, but we have both agreed that we no longer believe in the institution of marriage. Can we convert our marriage to a civil partnership? If so, what implications would that have? ”

A Simpson Millar lawyer answers, saying: “Unfortunately, there isn’t a satisfactory legal solution to this situation.

“The difficulty is that although a mechanism exists to convert a civil partnership into a marriage, no such mechanism exists in reverse. This means that in order to become civil partners, it will be necessary for you to divorce and then enter into a civil partnership when the divorce has been finalised.

“Bear in mind that this may not be possible, because in order to obtain a divorce you will have to prove to the court that your marriage has broken down irretrievably. At this point in time, we do not have a system of divorce that enables people to dissolve their marriage without either one spouse blaming the other for the breakdown of their relationship (for specific reasons of behaviour or desertion) or proving that they have lived apart for at least 2 years (with consent to the divorce) or 5 years without consent.

“These factors may well prevent you completely from taking the steps you are considering. This is a complex situation, and if you would like to discuss this in more depth feel free to speak to one of Simpson Millar’s Family Law solicitors on 0800 260 5005 or click here to request a call-back.

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