Our family lawyers provide a full range of family law services to the LGBT+ community, including matters surrounding same-sex marriage, civil partnerships, wealth protection and starting a family.
Divorce & Dissolution of Civil Partnerships
Same sex couples have been able to enter into a civil partnership since December 2005 and have been able to marry since March 2014. The procedure for dissolving a civil partnership or obtaining a divorce is largely the same for same sex couples and opposite sex couples. However, there are some distinctions to be aware of. For example, same sex couples cannot rely on the fact of adultery to support the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, unless the adultery was with a person of the opposite sex. Instead, same sex couples could rely on the fact of unreasonable behaviour, or, if applicable, two years’ separation with the consent of the respondent, five years’ separation or desertion.
Our family lawyers have a wealth of experience to advise you on the divorce and dissolution procedure along with the financial repercussions that follow, as well as how to convert a civil partnership into a same sex marriage. Please click here for more information.
Pre-nuptial Agreements & Pre-registration Agreements
Same sex couples entering into a civil partnership may want to consider a pre-registration agreement to protect their assets in the event of dissolution. They could also enter into a post-registration agreement during the civil partnership. Similarly, same sex couples getting married may want to consider a pre-nuptial agreement or if they are already married, a post-nuptial agreement. Our family lawyers regularly draft and advise on these types of agreements, including where the parties are from or have assets located in another jurisdiction. Please click here for more information.
LGBT+ couples who live together or intend to live together may want to consider entering into a cohabitation agreement to define the terms of their cohabitation and what would happen in the event of separation. Our family lawyers regularly draft and advise on these types of agreements, including where property is held in sole or joint names and where the deposit has been gifted from a family member. They also advise on property disputes, for example where one party claims a beneficial interest in a property held in the other parties sole name or where the parties dispute how joint property is held. Please click here for more information.
The Adoption and Children Act 2002 gave same sex couples, including unmarried couples, the right to adopt and this became law in December 2005. According to the Department for Education, one in eight adoptions in the UK in 2018 were by LGBT+ couples, to parents either in same-sex relationships, a civil partnership, or a same sex marriage. Our family lawyers can help and guide you through the often complicated adoption process. Please click here for more information.
Same sex male couples often choose surrogacy to bring a child into the world. This involves finding a surrogate who is prepared to carry and give birth to a child. The same sex male couple have a number of options open to them. We can talk you through the options and provide expert legal advice depending on the route you want to take. Please click here for more information.
Parental Responsibility is often a complex issue that arises among LGBT+ couples when they or another person on their behalf brings a child into the world.
Where a child is born to a same sex female couple, the mother who carried the child will automatically have parental responsibility. The second female parent will automatically obtain parental responsibility if the couple are married or in a civil partnership at the time of the fertility treatment and consented to the treatment. If, however, they were not married or in a civil partnership, but the two women consented in writing to the second female parent being the child's parent, the second female can acquire parental responsibility in the same way as an unmarried father.
Where a child is born to a same sex male couple through surrogacy, the couple may acquire parental responsibility through a number of routes. These include the biological father being named on the birth certificate or the couple applying for a parental order from the court.
Whatever your situation, including where a child is adopted, our family lawyers can help you establish parental responsibility. Please click here for more information.