Same-sex marriage FAQs

The end of a relationship is a difficult time, but it’s important not to rush into decisions.

The right legal advice can help protect your rights whether you have been living together, have a cohabitation agreement or are in a civil partnership or married.

See below our most frequently asked questions from our clients in same sex relationships.

I am in a same-sex marriage, can I get divorced?

Yes, couples in a same-sex marriage can get divorced in much the same way as an opposite-sex couple.

On what grounds can I get a divorce?

A divorce can be granted on the ground that the marriage has irretrievably broken down by relying on one of the following facts:

  • Your spouse has behaved unreasonably;
  • You have lived separately for at least two years and you both agree to get a divorce;
  • You have lived separately for at least five years;
  • Your spouse has deserted you.

Are there any differences between ending a same-sex marriage and ending an opposite-sex marriage?

There is only one key difference, same-sex marriages cannot be annulled on the basis of non-consummation and cannot be divorced on the basis of adultery unlike opposite-sex marriages.

My spouse has cheated on me by having an affair; can I get divorced?

You can rely on the fact that your spouse has behaved unreasonably by having an affair in order to prove that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.

Why can’t I rely on my spouse’s adultery to end our same-sex marriage?

Adultery cannot be relied upon to bring a same-sex marriage to an end but instead it can fall within what the court would consider to be unreasonable behaviour.

How do I begin to get a divorce?

The first step can differ from couple to couple; some may wish to explore reconciliation while others may be ready to make a court application for divorce. It is always useful for both spouses to first take independent legal advice so they become familiar with the procedures involved and the paperwork that must be completed.

How do I sort out issues in relation to our home, savings and other assets when I get divorced?

The finances can be dealt with before, during and even after the marriage has ended. It is usually better to deal with this aspect as soon as possible. In the course of divorce proceedings, an agreement over the finances can be negotiated and ratified by the court or if necessary the court can determine these issues.

How do I sort out issues in relation to the children when I get divorced?

Issues in relation to the children, such as who they live with and how much time they spend with each of you, can also be dealt with before, during and even after the marriage has ended. These issues are dealt with under separate court proceedings from the divorce but in the first instance, an agreement can be reached directly with the other party if possible.