If your relationship is in difficulty, you may be contemplating splitting up, and if you have a formal civil partnership or marriage, divorce. You may have been told that the relationship is ‘not working’, but you may not be sure that separating is what you want. Our team of divorce lawyers provide expert advice on same sex and gay divorce as well as civil partnership dissolution; please get in touch for advice and support.

Even if you just live together (cohabitation), splitting up will have practical or legal arrangements to make. Long before civil partnership or same-sex marriage formalised status, family law solicitors would help same-sex couples agree about assets or children.

For those in same sex relationships who have entered into a civil partnership, same-sex divorce is technically known as civil partnership dissolution.

Before you go ahead with divorce or dissolution, you need to decide if ending a civil partnership is what you really want. You might be unsure about the breakdown or need help coming to terms with your relationship ending. If you are uncertain, we recommend you speak with a qualified relationship counsellor.

How to get a Same-Sex Divorce or Civil Partnership Dissolution

If you want a civil partnership dissolution, you must have entered a civil partnership a minimum of one year ago. Your marriage must be legally recognised in the UK and you must also live permanently in England or Wales.

When ending a civil partnership or any same-sex marriage, you must prove to the Court your relationship has irretrievably broken down. The four ways of proving the breakdown in the relationship are:

1) Unreasonable behaviour, including, emotional or domestic abuse, or financial irresponsibility by your partner

2) Desertion, where the other person left without reason more than two years ago

3) Separation for two years and both you and your partner agree

4) Separation for five years even if your spouse doesn’t agree.

The process of ending a legal relationship is largely administrative, involving submitting the correct paperwork to the Court.

Firstly, you must complete an application for dissolution/divorce and pay a fee to the court (please see our DIVORCE150 page to see if you are eligible for a fixed fee divorce), following which the court needs to give the other person an opportunity to respond before you confirm the facts and ask for a Certificate that you are entitled to end the legal partnership. After an interim order, you need to wait, but after a few weeks, you can apply for the final order, the legal document which returns you to being a single person. On that Order – in divorce called the Decree Absolute, your marriage ends and you are divorced.

There are consequences of returning to single status and you should think very carefully before making the ending legally ‘final’. These could include such things as tax, benefits entitlement, and testamentary provision. Please speak with a member of our team to understand how your divorce may impact you.

Getting Help with Same-Sex Divorce or Dissolution

With important paperwork to fill in and time-frames to adhere to, ending a marriage or civil partnership can be difficult without a divorce solicitor. We know what is required and how best to present the information so as to reduce the likelihood of questions, delay or even refusal.

Regardless of your personal circumstances, Major Family Law can represent you in your dissolution or separation. Depending on your financial circumstances, you may be eligible for our Fixed Fee Divorce package. We will discuss this with you during your first consultation. For more information, please see our DIVORCE150 page.

If you are concerned about financial provision or have children, we recommend that you speak with your solicitor for help with creating a legally binding arrangement.

Although a civil partnership dissolution and divorce are mostly administrative, the issues surrounding it are still complex. We believe that splitting up and ending a relationship must be dealt with sympathetically, fairly and efficiently. A solicitor can negotiate, clarify or even use the court to get arrangements sorted out.

For more information on ending same-sex relationships see how we do it, or please feel free to contact us for impartial, specialist advice from Major Family Law.