A step-by-step guide to same-sex divorce

Originally published on 22nd May 2024 at 8:39 AM
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Same-sex marriage has been legally recognised in the UK since July 2013. Before this, same-sex couples could enter into a civil partnership rather than a marriage.

Whilst a relatively new occurrence in comparison to heterosexual divorcing couples, the process is identical for both. For civil partners, rather than going through divorce proceedings, the couple ‘dissolves’ their civil partnership through dissolution proceedings. This is the same process as divorce, with a different name.

Some same-sex couples will have chosen to convert their civil partnership to a marriage. For these couples, the divorce process is the same, but they will require both certificates when making an application for divorce.

The legal process of divorce for same-sex couples:

The legal process for divorce and dissolution is made up of three steps, with an extra step for those wishing to untangle their finances and divide any money and property.

The legal steps for divorce/ dissolution are:

  1. Divorce application
  2. Conditional order
  3. Financial remedy order (a consent order if you agree) optional
  4. Final order

How to apply for a same-sex divorce:

Step 1: Submit your divorce/ dissolution application

You can choose whether to make a sole or joint application. This is up to personal preference.

If you would like professional help managing your divorce or dissolution, amicable offers services which include this. Browse our services here or use our diagnostic tool to find the best option for your situation.

Things you will need before you apply for a divorce:

You will need…

  • To have been married for at least a year
  • A copy of your marriage certificate (and civil partnership certificate if applicable)
  • A postal address for your ex-partner

The ‘reflection period’ begins after your divorce/dissolution has been started (issued) by the court. This is a mandatory 20-week period before your divorce/dissolution can progress. You can read more about this in our checklist for the reflection period.

Step 2: Apply for your conditional order

If you’ve applied for divorce together, in a joint application, you will need to both check and approve the applications at each stage. If you apply in a sole application, your ex will need to respond before you can apply for your conditional order.

If you’re the ‘respondent’

You will need to ‘acknowledge receipt’ of the divorce/dissolution application and respond online or by completing and posting the paper form back to the owning court.

If you’re the ‘applicant’

If you’re the applicant and your ex has responded or you applied for divorce together, you will be promoted when you can apply for your conditional order by email, if you applied online or by post if you applied on paper.

You can find more information about applying for your conditional order in our guide here.

Step 3: Sorting out money and property and applying for a consent order (optional)

When you get divorced or enter into a civil partnership, you’re financially tied together. A divorce or dissolution won’t automatically end this financial relationship you have entered.

To end your financial marriage/partnership, you’ll need a clean break in a financial remedy order. This is called a consent order if you agree. This will need to be prepared (drafted) by a legal professional, such as an amicable, and also need to be reviewed by a judge to make sure it’s fair in the eyes of the law.

Even if you don’t have any money or property to sort out when you separate, you will stay financially tied together after your divorce, which means if you build up any pensions, or savings or receive any inheritance in the future, you're not protected against claims from your ex. If you have no assets, we offer a clean break consent order service.

If you want to end your financial marriage through a consent order, it’s recommended you do this before the final order, especially if you are planning to share pensions as part of your settlement. However, if you’re already divorced, you can still apply for a consent order and if you have any questions about this, you can book a free 15-minute call with one of our amicable experts.

Step 4: Apply for your final order

Six weeks and one day after your conditional order date, you can apply for your final order.

If you’re sorting out money and property as part of your divorce, it's normally recommended to wait until the financial matters have been resolved because your legal rights and responsibilities will change after you’re divorced.

You can find more information about applying for your final order in our guide here.

How much does a same-sex divorce cost?

To submit your divorce or dissolution application, the government charges £593. You don’t need anyone to do this for you; however, some people benefit from professional support in managing this process.

The cost of getting a legally binding consent order, ending future claims and outlining any financial agreements will depend on which legal professional you choose.

At amicable, we help couples negotiate a fair agreement, prepare the consent order and manage the court process. Our prices start at £900 for couples who have already agreed and don’t need negotiation support. Find out more here.


How do we end our same-sex marriage?

You can apply for your divorce or dissolve your civil partnership online via the Government website.

How much does it cost for a same-sex divorce?

It costs £593 to apply for a divorce or dissolve a civil partnership if you’re doing the application yourself on the government website. The cost of dividing your money and property and ending your financial relationship through a consent order will depend on which professional manages this process.

How do we divorce if we previously converted our civil partnership to a marriage?

You will need to provide a copy of your marriage certificate and civil partnership certificate when you apply for your divorce.

Read More

Start your amicable divorce journey

Speak to an amicable Divorce Specialist to understand your options and next steps for untying the knot, amicably.

Book a free 15-minute consultation

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