How to file for a “same-sex divorce” has become a common enquiry over recent years since same-sex marriage becoming legal in 2014. The legal requirements for dissolving a same-sex marriage are more or less the same as for opposite-sex divorce.
The first requirement is that you must have been married for at least one year.
UK divorce law states that the ground for divorce is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. This is the same for single-sex divorce as it is for opposite-sex divorce. You must be able to prove the ground for divorce on one of five following grounds:
- Unreasonable behaviour – this could include, for example, your spouse having sexual relations with someone else or domestic violence;
- Adultery – Please note that you can only use this ground if your spouse has had sexual intercourse with a member of the opposite sex. You cannot rely on adultery if your spouse has committed adultery with a person of the same sex.
- Two years separation, with both parties consent.
- Desertion for a period of not less than two years in the past 2 1/2 year period.
- Five years’ separation.
The inability to use adultery as a ground for divorce unless it is committed with a person of the opposite sex seems quite unfair. However, the UK government is looking into “No Fault Divorce”. When this becomes law, then this won’t be an issue
To start the process you must file a divorce petition at Court. If the Court decides that you are entitled to a divorce, the Court will grant you a decree nisi. You must then apply for the decree absolute to be made to finalise the divorce.
If you are a same-sex couple considering a divorce it is important to seek legal advice from an expert in this field.