- Family Law
There was more than three times the number of same-sex divorces in 2017 than in 2016, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The statistics for 2018 are yet to be released. Unreasonable behaviour was the most common fact relied upon, the same as for opposite sex couples.
So, what is the difference between a same-sex divorce and divorces of opposite sex couples?
Essentially very little. The divorce petition is the same, and the court has the power and jurisdiction to deal with same-sex divorces under The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) (Jurisdiction and Recognition of Judgments) Regulations 2014.
The fundamental difference, is that same-sex couples cannot rely on adultery as a fact in the divorce petition.
What facts can same-sex couples rely on?
- Behaviour – the other party has acted in such a way that you cannot be expected to live with them. This fact cannot be used if you have lived with the other party for a total of six months after the date of the last incident you are relying on.
- Desertion – the other party has left, without reason, for a continuous period of at least two years prior to your application.
- Separation two years – you have lived separately for at least two years, and you have the consent of the other party to divorce on this basis. You can still live in the same home during the separation, but you must not ‘live as a couple’ for six months during or after the separation period.
- Separation five years – you have lived separately for a continuous period of five years (no consent required). You can still live in the same home during the separation, but you must not ‘live as a couple’ for six months during or after the separation period.
What should you do next?
You can apply for a divorce online here https://www.gov.uk/apply-for-divorce. If you prefer to complete a paper form, this can be obtained from the same website.
Sometimes matters can be complicated, and for your own peace of mind, you may prefer to consult a family law specialist. We can help you complete your same-sex divorce petition and advise you on the financial settlement and the arrangements for the children.
If you have already reached a financial agreement, it is advisable to speak to our head of family Law, Priya Gill to ensure that the agreement is fair for you, and to ensure that your paperwork is processed by the court without delay.