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LGBTQ+ Family Law Services

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At OTS Solicitors our family lawyers specialise in family law for LGBTQ+ families. In this blog, our family solicitors explain how we can help you with your LGBTQ+ related family law needs.

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For family law advice call the expert London family lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form.

LGBTQ+ family law services

There are no specific LGBTQ+ family laws but the LGBTQ+ community does have specific family law needs. As with most areas of law, it is best if advice is taken early so you understand how the law relates to you and your family’s circumstances.

LGBTQ+ and children law needs

Our expert family law solicitors advise on the full range of children and family law issues including:

  • Parental responsibility for children
  • Child arrangement orders and applying for leave to apply for an order if you are not classed as a ‘parent’ of a child you have been looking after
  • Surrogacy arrangements and parental orders
  • International surrogacy and related immigration and entry clearance issues
  • International adoption, adoption orders, and acquiring British citizenship for your child

LGBTQ+ relationship breakdown

Our specialist lawyers can help you with:

  • No-fault divorce proceedings
  • Civil partnership dissolution
  • Financial settlements after a relationship breakdown
  • Financial court orders, including clean break orders to sever any ongoing financial ties
  • Immigration law consequences if an LGBTQ+ relationship breaks down and one partner is in the UK on a spouse visa or partner visa or another type of visa

Sometimes finances can get very enmeshed. For example, if you are employed by your spouse or civil partner or if you both are in business together. Our lawyers look at your situation and try to come up with solutions that work for your circumstances. For example, you may not be able to live together but you may still may a great business team and want a financial court order that allows you to remain in business but with financial safeguards.

LGBTQ+ and family law agreements

If you are in an LGBTQ+ relationship you may be either married, in a civil partnership, or cohabiting. The status of your relationship is important because your legal rights stem from either your marriage or civil partnership or from property rights if you are a cohabitee.

At OTS Solicitors our family lawyers recommend that before you get married or enter a civil partnership you consider signing a prenuptial agreement or civil partnership agreement. If you are already married you can sign a postnuptial or post-civil partnership agreement. This type of agreement sets out how your assets will be divided if you separate. Family lawyers stress that these agreements are not unromantic but sensible as they help avoid bitter and expensive financial fights if your relationship breaks down.

If you are in a cohabiting LGBTQ+ relationship it is all the more important that you sign a cohabitation agreement because your rights are wholly reliant on archaic property law and that can produce some very strange results on relationship breakdown. For example:

  • You have lived with your partner for years but as the house is owned in their name you may have no entitlement to a share in the equity because of how your finances were managed
  • You have just bought a house with your partner with your parents providing the deposit and you paying the mortgage each month. Depending on whether you bought the house as joint tenants or tenants in common your partner may be entitled to half the equity. That means they benefit from half of your parent’s gift of the deposit monies – that probably isn’t what your parents intended when they gave the money
  • Your partner may have moved into a flat you owned before you met them and helped you pay the mortgage for a couple of months and fund the kitchen renovation. You thought their contributions were instead of rent but as a result of that contribution they are now claiming a beneficial interest in your property and a share in the equity because of the steep rise in property prices

These situations can be avoided by signing a cohabitation agreement when you enter a new relationship so it is clear that a partner has no claims against your property or the agreement clearly sets out the extent of their share in the equity. Signing a cohabitation agreement is a lot cheaper and simpler than battling it out in court arguing about trust law and property rights.

Also, for LGBTQ+ couples, it is important to remember that you need advice about relationship paperwork and protection on death. If you are not married or in a civil partnership you do not have legal status. Even if you are married or in a civil partnership it gives you peace of mind to have these documents in place:

  • A Will – if you are in a cohabiting relationship and you don’t have a Will your LGBTQ+ partner won't inherit under intestacy rules. They would have to bring a claim against your estate as a dependant and that can be expensive and messy. If you have children then you may want to use your Will to appoint a testamentary guardian to look after your children in case you pass away while they are still young
  • A Lasting Power of Attorney – there are 2 types of Lasting Power of Attorney - financial and health & welfare. If you don’t have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place and you lose the capacity to make your own decisions then your cohabitee is not your legal next of kin. That may mean your parents or siblings are the ones who are treated for legal purposes as your next of kin

Whatever the nature of your family law queries, our family lawyers are here to help. We pride ourselves on being approachable (unstuffy), legal experts ( knowing our stuff), and offering you the best advice for your circumstances.

Online and London Family Law Solicitors

For family law legal advice call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form.

Related Posts

What is Parental Responsibility and Do I Have it?

How do you get a Divorce Financial Court Order by Agreement?

International Surrogacy

How does the court divide assets on divorce? - OTS Solicitors

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