Same-sex couples marriage: fast facts

sweets on a pink background and couple in paper

Same-sex couples not in an existing legal partnership will be able to give notice of marriage from Thursday 13 March 2014, with the first marriages to take place on Saturday 29 March.

sweets on a pink background and couple in paperHere are the key legal facts about marriage between same-sex couples:

  • The majority of the provisions of the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act 2013 come into force on 13 March 2014.
  • In general terms, the law of England and Wales will apply in the same way to a marriage which has taken place between same-sex couples as to a marriage between opposite sex couples.
  • Married persons of the same sex will not be able to divorce on grounds of adultery or to have their marriage annulled on grounds of non-consummation.
  • An existing civil partnership does not automatically become a marriage when the new Act comes into force but civil partners may choose to convert it.
  • When a civil partnership is converted into a marriage, the civil partnership will end and the marriage will be treated as though it had existed from the date of the civil partnership. However, the regulations which will provide the procedure for converting a civil partnership into a marriage have not yet been made.
  • Currently, the Civil Partnership Act provides that no religious service can be used at the signing of a civil partnership document. The Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act however permits the marriage of a same sex couple in any appropriately registered building.
  • There is provision in the new Act for same-sex marriages contracted under foreign law to be recognised as marriages in England and Wales. This applies to existing marriages as well as those entered into in the future.
  • No provision is made for civil partnerships entered into according to foreign laws to be converted into a same-sex marriage.
  • The intestacy rules will also apply to same-sex married couples so that a spouse of a same sex marriage will benefit from their husband or wife’s estate.
See also  Fast facts: prenuptial agreements

Written by Joanne Clarke, Associate at Lester Aldridge

The Lester Aldridge family team deal with these and other issues on a regular basis.

lester-aldridge-logoIf you would like to discuss any aspect of divorce, separation, arrangements for your children or wish to protect your assets prior to getting married, contact the family team on 01202 786161 or email

About Lester Aldridge LLP

Lester Aldridge LLP is a nationally recognised law firm with offices in London, Bournemouth and Southampton. The family team are leaders in their field. Jane, Jo and Rosie are specialist family solicitors with a wealth of experience in all areas of family law from divorce to children, prenuptial agreements to the settlement of financial disputes and everything in between. These women are feisty when they need to be. But their approach is designed to reduce conflict in order to ensure the best possible outcome. They recognise that family issues can be extremely emotional and they offer access to specialist advice delivered in a friendly, approachable and understandable way designed to guide you from start to finish. If you would like an informal, no-obligation chat with Jane, Jo or Rosie please telephone 03300 539754.