Same sex divorce and marriage lawyers

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Our team of experienced family law solicitors are dedicated to providing tailored legal advice and support to individuals in same-sex relationships who are going through a divorce or other family law related issues.

Our same sex divorce solicitors understand that same-sex relationships can face unique challenges when it comes to divorce and that’s why we are committed to helping our clients navigate the legal complexities of same-sex divorce and other legal issues with sensitivity and understanding.

The end of a relationship is a difficult time, but it is 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. As one of the leading family and divorce law firms in the south of England, we can help you with informed, practical advice and the reassurance of many years’ experience in handling these delicate matters.

The law has now generally adapted to take account of same sex relationships, which means that if your relationship breaks down, many of the legal aspects about divorce and separation now apply to same sex relationships too. It depends on how formalised your relationship is, whether you are simply living together, have made a cohabitation agreement, are in a civil partnership or are married.

Joanna Farrands

Joanna Farrands

Partner | Family

01483 543223

Expert family lawyers

Whatever your arrangement, the end of a relationship can be a painful time. It may be difficult to think clearly, but it is important not to rush into decisions, only to regret them later. This is where professional assistance from an expert in same sex family law can help. By discussing your situation and discovering the outcome you want, experienced same sex family lawyers will be able to suggest the right course of action to protect your interests, particularly where jointly owned property or assets are concerned.

Our family law and expert same sex relationship lawyers have wide experience of helping couples through the ordeal of a relationship breakdown. We will provide pragmatic, reassuring and realistic advice that will help give you certainty at a difficult time. Here, we explain how your rights differ, depending on whether you are living together, have a cohabitation agreement, are in a civil partnership or married.

What is same sex divorce?

Same-sex divorce is the process of ending a same-sex marriage or civil partnership in the same way as a heterosexual divorce. The process and the legal considerations are largely the same as those in a traditional divorce, but there may be some specific issues to consider, such as the division of pension rights and property.

Ending a marriage for same sex couples

If your marriage is legally recognised in England and Wales (including same sex marriages) and your relationship breaks down, you might want to start divorce proceedings. Our experienced same sex divorce lawyers offer all of the legal advice and support you need to protect your interests and those of any children you may have together.

Same sex divorce in England does have many of the same requirements and processes as divorce in an opposite sex marriage, but there are some differences. Experienced same sex marriage lawyers can talk you through exactly what you need to know. See our separate divorce page for more information.

If living together/cohabitating

If you are living together and subsequently break up, the law does not provide a great deal of protection. This is why it may be a good idea, if yours is a long-term relationship, to enter into a cohabitation agreement (sometimes also known as a living together agreement).

Such an agreement can offer you and your partner confidence with the way in which property and other financial matters will be dealt with while living together and in the event that the relationship breaks down. A properly drafted cohabitation agreement can also offer civil remedies in relation to certain aspects if there is a dispute.

If you want to live together without making a cohabitation agreement or entering into a civil partnership, it may be appropriate sensible to have legally enforceable agreements covering property or major assets you have bought together. Then, if your relationship ends, you will each know where you stand in terms of the property and/or assets, and what your share will be.

We can explain how this works and draw up the legal documents for you. We can also advise on what happens to the money if you had a joint bank account.

If you have children, the situation is rather more complicated. Parental responsibility laws mean you must make decisions about your children’s living arrangements, health, education and welfare jointly. If you are the same sex partner of a child’s parent, you may have parental responsibility. This will affect your rights and responsibilities regarding contact with the child and providing financial support for them, if your relationship has ended.

Since this can become complex, we strongly recommend you talk to experienced same sex marriage lawyers first, such as the team at Moore Barlow.

Ending civil partnerships for same sex couples

A civil partnership has very similar legal status to marriage, so if your relationship has broken down, you can dissolve a civil partnership in much the same way as married couples obtain a divorce. It is important to take advice from experienced same sex divorce lawyers if you are considering this route, to help protect your interests.

You will need to show the court that you have been in a civil partnership for longer than a year and prove to the court that your civil partnership has irretrievably broken down by virtue of either:

  • The other party’s behaviour
  • Two years’ separation with the other person’s consent
  • Five years’ separation without consent
  • Desertion for two years or more

Unlike opposite sex divorces, adultery is not a factor that can be relied upon in a same sex divorce or civil partnership dissolution.

Stages for dissolving a civil partnership

The petitioner (the person wanting to end the civil partnership) files a petition at court for the dissolution of the civil partnership. As well as preparing the petition, your lawyer will also prepare a Statement of Reconciliation. This confirms that you, as Petitioner, and your solicitor have discussed the possibility of reconciliation. The petition, statement and fee for the petition are all sent to the court.

The court will send a copy of the sealed petition, together with an Acknowledgement of Service, to the Respondent, who is the other person in the partnership. The Respondent completes the acknowledgement and returns it. If they accept the stated grounds for dissolution and do notintend to defend it, their role in this process comes to an end.

The petitioner then files a statement in support of the petition and asks the court to grant the first order within the dissolution process, which is a conditional order. After six weeks and a day, the petitioner can apply for a final order and the civil partnership is officially dissolved.

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How long does it take to dissolve a civil partnership?

Depending on the court and availability of court time, the process can take around 18 to 24 weeks. Same sex family lawyers can assist with the process to help keep things moving forwards as smoothly as possible in your specific circumstances. It may be beneficial to use this period of time to consider the financial aspects of the relationship and seeking to reach an agreement in relation to that. If agreement is reached, a consent order can be lodged with the court within the dissolution proceedings.

What are the court fees for getting a dissolution of a civil partnership?

If you are in the process of getting a dissolution of a civil partnership then, currently, the court fee is £550. This is something that may change so it is important that you check the most up to date version on the UK government website.

This is the fee for the dissolution of a civil partnership, but is not the fee for your solicitor and legal services. This is separately invoiced by the law firm that you decide to use and will be based on the number of hours and services that you have been provided.

Can the courts deal with your dissolution; do they have jurisdiction?

The courts in England and Wales can deal with your dissolution if they have ‘jurisdiction’, which usually means as long as both parties are habitually resident in England and Wales.

You may need to prove you are habitually resident in England or Wales and have been for at least one year. There are various other aspects involved, but this is a specialised and complex area of law. If you are in any doubt, please seek our advice.

The next steps

It is a good idea to contact us as early as possible if you are contemplating dissolving your partnership. In the very early stages, we may be able to point you in the direction of relationship counselling if you do not feel it is the right time to proceed with a formal separation at this stage. We can also offer a conciliatory approach through our mediation and collaborative services.

Where children and finances are concerned, it is important to have expert advice, to ensure that your rights are protected, and you are clear about your obligations.

How can you protect your assets?

In a similar way to divorce proceedings, it is also important to consider your joint and individual assets when ending a civil partnership. If you do not already have a pre-civil partnership agreement in place, which sets out the details of assets/belongings and what should happen to them if the relationship breaks down, then you may need expert legal advice on this.

At Moore Barlow, our team of same sex divorce lawyers can provide you with services regarding the protection of your assets as well as legal help regarding the division of assets in the event that there isn’t a pre-civil partnership agreement. We understand that these sorts of disputes can be a difficult and stressful time for our clients, which is why our experienced divorce solicitors will approach your case with the sensitivity and care it demands.

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Key advice for anyone looking to deal with a divorce

Whatever situation you find yourself in, we are here to help with an accomplished team of family law solicitors who have years of experience assisting those who require specialist legal advice.

Separating as same sex parents

Whether you are looking to get divorced or dissolve a civil partnership, dealing with issues concerning your children can be very difficult and highly emotional. Not only might discussions be needed over with whom the child or children live with, there are other considerations that parents need to take into account both at the time and into the future.

The kind of issues that often need to be looked at and agreed upon include:

  • Who the child or children live with and when they see the other parent (child arrangements)
  • Future decisions over education – where they go to school
  • Any changes to a child’s name
  • Decisions over medical treatment
  • Holidays and taking a child abroad
  • Which religion (if any) the child will be brought up in
  • Payment of support for the child/children.

These issues can often be complex to resolve and some may need revisiting in the future as circumstances change. Our same sex family lawyers can help with this process if a future dispute arises.

Why choose our same sex divorce solicitors?

Choosing our same sex divorce solicitors means you will have a team of experienced and compassionate lawyers who understand the unique challenges facing same sex couples. We have a deep knowledge of the legal landscape surrounding same sex relationships and can provide tailored advice to help you navigate the divorce process with confidence. Our aim is to ensure that you achieve the best possible outcome for your situation, while minimising stress and conflict.

How can our same sex divorce solicitors help?

Our same-sex divorce solicitors are experienced in handling complex legal issues that arise in same-sex relationships. We provide expert advice and guidance throughout the divorce process, ensuring that our clients receive the best possible outcome. Our team is committed to protecting the rights of our clients and ensuring that their interests are represented in court. We understand the unique challenges faced by same-sex couples and are dedicated to providing compassionate and effective legal representation.

We have offices in LondonRichmondSouthamptonGuildfordLymington and Woking and our same sex marriage lawyers offer specialist support and advice to our clients nationwide. If you have any enquiries about divorce or separation regarding same sex marriage law, contact the Moore Barlow team today.

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Start an online enquiry by completing our short questionnaire.

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Frequently asked questions

What is the process for a same-sex divorce?

The process for a same-sex divorce is generally the same as a heterosexual divorce. It involves filing a petition for divorce, division of marital assets and debts, determining child custody and support if applicable, and obtaining a final judgement of divorce from the court.

Yes, same-sex couples may face unique issues during a divorce, including securing legal recognition of the marriage or partnership, dividing non-traditional assets or complex financial arrangements, navigating child custody and visitation rights, and resolving issues related to assisted reproductive technology or adoption.

Like in heterosexual divorces, assets and debts are typically divided through a process of equitable distribution. This means that the court will evaluate factors such as the length of the marriage, each partner’s financial contributions, and the value of the assets and debts to determine a fair and equitable division.

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