Pride Month – how far has family law come?

22nd June 2022

It has been 50 Years since the first pride march in London, but has family law kept pace with changes in society?

June sees the annual celebration of Pride Month, an opportunity to celebrate diversity and appreciate the significant changes that have taken place in recent history. This year also marks 50 years since the inaugural London Pride march, taking place at a time when homosexuality was still illegal in many circumstances, and discrimination and homophobia were prevalent.

Are you separating from your partner?

The law has developed significantly in this time, with same-sex marriages legalised in England in 2013, in addition to civil partnerships which first took place in 2005. Against this historic backdrop of inequality, we are often asked specifically to advise on a same-sex divorce or dissolution, with many people having the assumption that the law is different depending on a couple’s sexuality. The simple answer is that it is not – if you are in a same-sex relationship, the law will still consider a couple’s separation following exactly the same legal principles. You both have financial needs that must be met, and any division of assets on divorce or dissolution must be fair to you both.  This is of course just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to finances on divorce/dissolution, but the key message is this – regardless of gender identity, sexuality or whether you are in a marriage or civil partnership, the law is the same.

A focus on children

It is not just a couple’s marital status that has seen monumental changes in the last 50 years, but the makeup of families has also changed beyond recognition. In 1972, children being born to same-sex partners through surrogacy would have been unheard of, as would same-sex parents adopting a child and providing them with a loving home. If there is a disagreement about the upbringing of children, and the involvement of family solicitors is required, you will not be treated any differently than an opposite-sex couple would in that situation. The court’s primary consideration is the welfare of the child, that will always be front and centre. The sexuality of a child’s parents is not a relevant factor when the court is asked to decide on a child’s upbringing or with whom they live.

How can Blake Morgan help?

Equality has been long fought for by the LGBT+ community, and whilst there may still be some way to go before historic attitudes are truly left in the past, our family law does not discriminate based on gender identity, sexuality or any of the prejudices that people have fought to overcome. Our family law team are both members of and allies of the LGBT+ community and would be happy to have a confidential discussion about your individual circumstances and how we may be able to assist.

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