A review of Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013: for example, same sex couples will not be able to divorce on the grounds of adultery and there is no presumption of parentage.
The Act will be supported by supplementary rules which will bring the Act into force but these are not yet settled. The anticipated timeframes suggest that the first same sex marriages are not likely to take place until 2014.
Marriage between same sex couples will be lawful and on the same footing as marriage between a man and a woman.
Same sex couples will not be able to divorce on the grounds of adultery or have the marriage annulled on the grounds of non-consummation.
Pension rules have not yet been equalised.
Civil partners will be able to convert their partnership into marriage.
This will not happen automatically. So, same sex couples can marry or enter into a civil partnership and opposite sex couples can only marry. The Act prompts the Secretary of State to review this situation ‘as soon as possible.’
When a civil partnership converts into a marriage it will be treated as if it existed from the date of the civil partnership.
Same sex couples can have a religious marriage ceremony.
Provided the relevant authority of the registered building in which the ceremony takes place has opted-in.
Currently marriages under foreign laws which allow same sex marriages are treated as civil partnerships in England and Wales. The Act provides for these to be recognised as marriages in England and Wales.
Wills and trusts.
The Act will not affect private legal documents made before that date. Until the Act comes into force references to ‘marriages’ and ‘spouses’ will not include same sex marriages or spouses.
The terms and definitions in Wills and trusts need to be carefully reviewed.
There is no currently presumption of parentage.
Unlike with a civil partnership, there is no presumption that the spouse in a same sex marriage will be the legal parent of a child born via assisted conception.
Another prompt for careful drafting and review of Wills and trusts.