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Gay marriage to get Royal Assent shortly – but how is it different to civil partnership?

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill has now passed through the House of Commons and is due to get Royal Assent shortly.  Commentators suggest that the first gay wedding could take place next year which means (and I do not wish to perpetuate the myth of the negative and cynical divorce lawyer here) that the first gay divorce could take place by Summer 2015.

But what is the difference?  Legally there will be very little difference in dealing with a gay divorce and the dissolution of a civil partnership.  The process and financial claims which either party can make are the same.

The primary difference, from a family law perspective, will be that adultery is a ground for divorce but not dissolution of a civil partnership.  This means that same sex couples can dissolve their marriage purely on the basis one person has been unfaithful rather than including it in a petition for dissolution of a civil partnership  as one of a number of particulars of unreasonable behaviour.

James Maguire & Co is a specialist firm of Family Law and Divorce Law solicitors based in Wilmslow, Cheshire. We offer legal advice to parties going through a divorce including the financial issues which flow from this and children matters including child maintenance.

We can also advise on Schedule1 Children Act 1989 applications.   We advise clients in the Wilmslow area and also to the surrounding areas of Alderley Edge, Bramhall, Hale, Altrincham, Manchester and the North West. We are also able to act for clients nationally and internationally subject to the jurisdiction of England and Wales. For advice please contact James Maguire by telephone +44 (0) 1625 529456 or by emailjames.maguire@family-law.

For specialist advice on any family law related issue contact Maguire Family Law by email: or telephone:

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