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Financial division in the case of a dissolution - By Caroline Watson

The Telegraph published an article, week starting 12th March, discussing the financial settlement reached in the case of a homosexual couple. Mr Lawrence and Mr Gallagher were only married for seven short months, but had spent 11 years cohabiting prior to their civil partnership therefore allowing the Court to consider their relationship as almost 12 years in total. During this time they had bought a house together and made long term plans for their future. During their relationship Mr Gallagher took the role of the home maker earning a wage of approximately £100,000, whilst Mr Lawrence took the role of the bread winner earning a significantly higher annual income of approximately £390,000.However when it came to the division of their financial assets on separation, Mr Lawrence and his lawyers have argued that the assets should not be split in the same way they would be in for a heterosexual couple, because homosexuals are less likely to have children. The fact of the matter is that the Court will apply the same statue regarding the division of assets to either a homosexual couple or a heterosexual couple getting a divorce or dissolution. These principles are known as Section 25 factors and include first and foremost the consideration of the welfare of any children. Subsequent factors also include the age of the parties, their earning capacity and standard of living enjoyed whilst in the relationship and the duration of the marriage or civil partnership.Homosexual couples have fought for a long time to have equal legal rights to heterosexual couples when getting married, so it’s questionable as to why they should be treated differently when it comes to the end of their relationship. There are a lot of heterosexual couples who are together for a similar period of time as Mr Lawrence and Mr Gallagher who also will not have had children. If they separate then the division of their assets will be governed by statue by way of the Section 25 factors, just as Mr Lawrence and Mr Gallagher’s assets were.Whilst it may be true that homosexual couples are less likely to have children this does not mean that they should not have to share their assets in the same way as heterosexual couples. The Courts are obligated to deal with each case on its own facts regardless of the sexual orientation of those involved. By Caroline Watson