Grayfords can advise you on a range of LGBT+ matters in family law.
Whether you are looking to convert a civil partnership into a marriage, dissolve a civil partnership, or need advice on child matters (including adoption) we can help. Our ethos of exceptional client care ensures that our clients are equipped with the knowledge, resources and care that they need to make informed decisions about their future.
- Civil partnership dissolution
- Converting a civil partnership into a marriage
- Child matters
How to end a civil partnership or same-sex marriage
Civil partnerships are ended using the same process as a divorce, the main difference being that the term for the process is dissolution.
Same-sex marriages are subject to the same process as an opposite-sex divorce with the exception of adultery as one of the facts on which the divorce can be based.
Three factors must be proved:
- Parties have been partners for a minimum of a year
- The court has the jurisdiction to order the dissolution of the civil partnership based on the habitual residence or domicile of the parties
- There has been an irretrievable breakdown of the relationship
If you are considering getting a dissolution or divorce within the first year of partnership or marriage, there are a number of alternatives available until the one year period elapses including an application for a decree of judicial separation or a decree of nullity (if certain very strict criteria are met), applying for maintenance to be paid within separation proceedings or protection measures if there is there exists a risk of violence or abusive behaviour.
Dissolution or divorce can be granted where either or both parties are habitually resident (where most daily life tasks are conducted e.g. property, child’s education, taxes, where mail is sent, etc.) in England and Wales. There are a number of other cases in which parties outside England and Wales can still divorce here and you ought to contact a solicitor to get more advice if this could apply to you.
Although the grounds for dissolution or divorce are roughly the same for the dissolution of civil partnerships and same-sex marriages as with opposite-sex divorce, adultery is an exception. Adultery cannot be relied on by same sex couples. But if a party believes their partner has had intercourse with a third party, this could constitute behaviour causing the breakdown of the relationship and thus a ground for dissolution.
Reasons for civil partnership dissolution/same-sex divorce
A dissolution or divorce could be sought where there is:
- Behaviour such that the marriage breaks down (often called unreasonable behaviour)
- Two years’ separation with the consent of the other party
- Five years’ separation without consent
Once one of these facts is established, then irretrievable breakdown may be presumed. It is possible that any of these factors could be challenged by the other partner to deny breakdown, and if so, a different procedure follows (though that is very rare).
Our solicitors can provide advice and offer a consultation in relation to same-sex dissolution or divorce. Book a consultation for additional information and guidance on that and other related matters.
Converting a civil partnership into a marriage
Couples in a civil partnership are able to convert their union into a marriage in England and Wales. It is advisable for all couples to convert their partnership as not only will this allow gay and lesbian couples the same marital status as heterosexual couples, but it will also strengthen your legal rights as couple internationally. Grayfords can assist you in the process of converting a civil partnership into a marriage; we will give you advice specific to your relationship, what a conversion means legally as well as help you to fill in all the documents that are required.
Family is important to us at Grayfords, it is at the core of everything we do. We are highly experienced in child matters and will be able to advise you on the Adoption and Children Act of 2002, which was revised to include same sex couples and single people. If you are looking into adoption or are already involved in the process our expert team can advise you on your legal rights and required documentation. Our solicitors will help you through the legal steps in becoming a parent, so you can get back to preparing for this exciting step in your life.