Changing gender: the impact on marriage

Giles Robinson, Family Law Partner, discusses the impact of a change of gender on a marriage.

Divorce is not the only option if a spouse wants to change his/her gender and there is a wish to end the marriage.  It may also be possible to annul it.

There are a number of grounds on which a marriage is voidable, upon which a party to a marriage can rely.  Whereas a void marriage is one that is treated by the Courts as having never taken place, a voidable marriage is one that will be treated as having existed up to the time when a Decree Absolute of Nullity is made by a Court.

The Gender Recognition Act 2004 amended the basis on which a marriage could be voidable to add the ground that, an Interim Gender Recognition Certificate has been issued to either party of the marriage subsequent to the date of the marriage.  However, the application for nullity must be pursued within six months from the date of issue of the Interim Gender Recognition Certificate.

Whether void, or voidable, it is still possible for a party to a marriage to pursue Orders from the Court regarding financial issues and with regard to any children of the family, in the same way that can be done pursuant to a Divorce.

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