Divorce in Same Sex Marriages

In some ways it may be harder to think about divorce if you are in a same sex marriage.

For example, you may have petitioned for equal marriage rights or had to go to greater lengths to have a child as a couple, all of which can add to the emotional difficulty of divorce. But like any relationship a same sex marriage can irretrievably break down.

When a same sex marriage breaks down there are often additional considerations beyond splitting assets, such as you and your partner having used sperm donors and other complex parental situations.

As you imagine, such situations are legally very complex and dependent on specific facts. But the team at BTMK are specialists.

Legally a marriage and a civil partnership are different. The breakdown of a marriage ends in divorce, a civil partnership ends in dissolution.

More on Same Sex Relationships

The Grounds for Same Sex Divorce

The only ground for divorce in England and Wales is to show that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. And with same sex marriages you would need to show this using one of four statements of fact:

  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Desertion
  • Separation for two years (with consent of both spouses)
  • Separation for five years (without consent of both spouses)

When the no-fault divorce comes into law, it will apply to same sex marriages too.

‘Adultery’ and Same Sex Marriages

Where the law differs to that with opposite sex divorce is the exclusion of using ‘Adultery’ as a reason for the Divorce. This is because the current  law defines Adultery as there being sexual relations between a man and a woman.

If the reason you want to petition for divorce because your spouse has committed adultery it might be the case that to raise this under ‘Unreasonable Behaviour’.

Our solicitors will look at your case and help you choose the most relevant statement of fact for your situation.

Dissolving a Same Sex Civil Partnership

In England and Wales, you would end your same sex civil partnership by applying to court for a Dissolution Order.
As with divorce, you will need to have been in a civil partnership for at least for at least a year and will have to prove that your relationship has irretrievably broken down irretrievably, citing one of the four statements of fact above.

Ending a civil partnership means you get a Conditional Order of Dissolution and a Final Order, rather than the Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute that end marriages.

As with divorce you will need to have any financial arrangements in place before the Final Order.

Return to Divorce and Separation

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