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The effect of gender reassignment on the status of marriage

With the recent implementation of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, there has been some changes in the way marriages are effected by gender reassignment.

On making an application for a gender recognition certificate, the applicant will need to provide a statutory declaration as to whether they are married or a civil partner.

Where the applicant is married, there are three routes which can be taken in order to receive a full gender recognition certificate;

  1. Within 6 months of the date of the interim gender recognition certificate, if the parties to the marriage wish to remain married, and the marriage is under the law of England and Wales, the individual who has received the interim certificate can apply to the Gender Recognition Panel for a full gender recognition certificate. The individual’s spouse will need to provide their consent to the marriage continuing in the form of a statutory declaration to accompany the applicant’s application form. The continuity of the marriage will not be affected by the change in gender.
  2. Where the applicant’s spouse no longer wishes to remain married, he/she can apply to annul the marriage by virtue of the fact it is a voidable marriage under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. The applicant must enclose their own statutory declaration with their application that their spouse has not made a declaration of consent.
  3. Alternatively, divorce proceedings can be commenced by either party to dissolve the marriage.

The Applicant can only obtain the full gender recognition certificate if their marriage has been addressed by one of the above options.

This information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.

Beverley Jones

Partner - Head of Family Department (Liverpool)

Heading the family team in Liverpool, I am a family and matrimonial expert who deals with all aspects of family law.