At Wright Hassall we are fully committed to supporting the LGBTQ+ community. Our core values are predicated on providing a service that promotes inclusion, diversity and difference. We understand that no two clients are the same and that is why our ethos is to be recommended by every client, every time.
Further to this, we have an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion committee who are dedicated to ensuring Wright Hassall is an inclusive community for both staff and clients.
Our team understand the breakdown of a marriage, civil partnership or co-habitation agreement can be an extremely challenging time for all involved. Our expert family lawyers understand the sensitivities involved and will guide and support you through the practicalities of separation and advise you on the best ways of protecting yourself and your future.
Our lawyers fully understand the often difficult and sensitive nature of LGBTQ+ family circumstances. Making decisions about your and your family’s future can be daunting and the consequences of those decisions can be far reaching. Our family lawyers will help you throughout the divorce process, giving you piece of mind and ensuring the best outcome for you.
Same sex divorce
UK divorce laws remain largely the same for both same sex and opposite sex marriages. Currently, these laws state that the only grounds for divorce are that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. Until April 2022 when No Fault Divorce will come into law, if you are in a same sex marriage you must be able to prove grounds for divorce based on one of the following reasons:
- Unreasonable behaviour (the most common reason cited in divorce proceedings)
- Two years separation, with your spouse’s consent;
- Five years’ separation without consent;
- Desertion for a period of not less than four years.
Implications for same sex couples
For married couples of the opposite sex, there is a fifth reason not available to same sex couples, namely adultery. This is because, in the eyes of the law, adultery is defined as sexual intercourse outside marriage with someone of the opposite sex. As yet, the law does not recognise extra-marital sex with someone of the same sex as adultery. However, a divorcing same-sex couple would be entirely within their rights to cite unreasonable behaviour, as evidenced by extra-marital sex, as the reason for the marriage breakdown.
Other than citing adultery as a ground for divorce, the process of getting a divorce for a same sex married couple, is the same as getting a divorce for opposite sex married couples.
Dissolving a civil partnership is similar to a divorce, but this requires a dissolution order, with the process normally taking around 3-6 months.
In our article on co-habiting arrangements we explored the worryingly common misconception that co-habiting couples (those that live together but are not married or in a civil partnership) of any sex, benefit from a 50:50 split of assets on separation. In fact, co-habiting couples have extremely limited legal rights to their partner’s assets if they decide to separate.
If you are in a same sex relationship and cohabiting, but are not married or in a civil partnership, our team can help you explore the various options available to you such as a cohabitation agreement which is a binding contractual arrangement between both parties and is therefore enforceable. They can be varied by agreement at any time and updated as both parties’ positions change.