Same sex relationships
A significant change concerning the legal status of a gay relationship occurred on the 5 December 2005, when the Civil Partnership Act was passed. This law gives same sex relationships the same legal rights as heterosexual married couples. This means that those in same sex relationships now have the same remedies available to them, during both their lifetime and on death.
Our team of specialist lawyers have expertise in both drafting civil partnership agreements as well as advising couples following the breakdown of their civil partnership. Not all Courts are able to deal with the dissolution of Civil Partnerships and specialist advice should be sought.
For those whose partnership has broken down, proceedings for a Judicial Separation, Annulment or Dissolution can be instigated. The actual process is dissimilar to that of divorce. For example, the same factual grounds for an application exist in both divorce proceedings and civil partnership dissolution proceedings, except for adultery. The Court also has the same range of financial orders available to it pursuant to Section 5, Paragraph 21 of the Civil Partnership Act, which has similarities to the well known Section 25 factors of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 in divorce proceedings.
As with divorce, the Court has a wide discretion when considering a financial application. In summary, the Orders available to the Court relate in the first instance to the welfare of any dependant children under the age of 18 and thereafter factors such as the parties’ respective earning capacity, financial resources and property are taken into consideration. Overall the Court’s aim is to achieve fairness and ensure the parties are treated with parity following a dissolution of their relationship.