Figures released by the Office of National Statistics show that the rate of divorce for same sex couples doubled in 2019, compared to the previous year. This, however, is not necessarily a concerning statistic, as same sex marriage is only a relatively recent concept.

When same sex couples choose to formalise their relationships, they can choose to be civil partners or to marry. The main difference between civil partnership dissolution and divorce are the grounds on which an individual can rely. For divorce, the Petitioner can seek a divorce on the grounds of adultery, behaviour, separation with consent after 2 years, separation without consent after 5 years and desertion after 2 years.

With the exception of adultery, the same grounds can be relied upon for the purposes of a civil partnership dissolution.

Whilst terminology may be slightly different between the two, the process of applying for a divorce or civil partnership dissolution remains the same, and follows the same route as heterosexual couples. Additionally, the process of applying for financial orders remains unchanged.

Children matters may also concern same sex couples. However, in reality cases involving adoption, surrogacy or donor insemination where parental orders have been made, do not affect either parent’s parental responsibility and they both continue to enjoy the same rights as they did before.

However, matters are somewhat more complex with regard to step parenting. For example, if a step-parent has parental responsibility, this can be removed, albeit not automatically, at the end of the relationship and would require the consent of the court. This of course remains the same for heterosexual couples in the same situation.

At Maxwell Hodge, we can offer fixed fee advice on a variety of family subjects, starting at just £100 plus VAT.