If your relationship is in difficulty, you may be contemplating splitting up. If you are married, that means divorce – or in a civil partnership, dissolution. 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 divorce and dissolution – please get in touch for advice and support at this difficult time.

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

Before you go ahead with divorce or dissolution, you need to decide if doing so 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

To apply for a divorce or dissolution, you must have been married or in the partnership for at least one year. Your marriage must be legally recognised in the UK and you must also live permanently in England or Wales.

An application for a divorce or dissolution consists of a formal declaration that the marriage or partnership has broken down. It can be a sole application or one made jointly with your estranged spouse if you remain on relatively good terms with him or her. There is no longer any need to cite a specific reason for the application.

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). In response, you will receive an acknowledgement, a case number, a formal notice and a copy of the acknowledgement stamped by Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS).

Twenty weeks later you will be able to apply for a ‘conditional order of divorce’, declaration that the family court has found no reason why your divorce cannot proceed. You will. The waiting period is intended to provide the couple with an opportunity to reflect and to decide whether they really wish to go ahead and end the marriage or partnership.

After a further six weeks and one day, the estranged couple can then apply for a final order, formally ending the marriage or partnership.

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 entitlement to inheritance. 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 delays.

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.