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The US State of New Orleans has recently seen its first single sex divorce. Ironically this took place two hours before Louisiana sanctioned its first same sex marriage.

Here in England the first single sex marriages took place in March 2014.  According to the Office of National Statistics, in the first three months following changes to the law, 1,409 single sex couples celebrated their marriage.

As with all relationships, problems may arise and could ultimately end in separation or divorce. Under English law one year of marriage has to pass before any couple can apply for a divorce. A significant difference from traditional marriage however is that single sex couples cannot rely on adultery as a ground for divorce. The law still considers adultery as having a sexual relationship with a person of the opposite sex. Clearly legislators have some catching up to do.

This outdated law leaves gay couples who want to divorce having to either rely on unreasonable behaviour or instead separating and waiting two years before both agreeing to go their separate ways.

Financial arrangements for a single sex divorce will be largely the same as for a traditional marriage. However, arrangements for resolving where a child or children shall live may be much more complicated as there may be only one biological parent. If a child has been born through donor insemination, IVF, surrogacy or adoption, then Parental Orders and Adoption Orders will be vital. Co-parenting agreements, involving two or more people have not yet been given legal recognition; yet another legislation that needs to be reviewed.

This is a complex area of law and circumstances surrounding a child’s conception require careful consideration. It is therefore important to seek specialist, legal advice.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.