The woman was devastated to learn she couldn’t separate from her wife citing adultery as the reason. (Envato Elements)
A woman whose civil partner cheated on her was “devastated” when she discovered that their union can’t be dissolved on adultery grounds because of a legal double standard.
The woman, named only as Amy, discovered that the legal definition of adultery is sexual intercourse between a man and a woman when she tried to terminate her civil partnership.
The result of that legal definition is that opposite-sex couples can cite adultery as grounds for a divorce, but same-sex couples cannot. Now, Amy is calling for the law to be changed.
Speaking to BBC Wales Live, Amy said she realised something was wrong when her wife’s behaviour started to change. She later discovered, with the help of location checking apps, that her wife was having an affair.
“It’s all so cliché,” Amy said. “All of a sudden she had to have her phone with her the whole time, taking it into the bathroom with her… it was more evening meetings, weekends away… and then, absolutely classic, that this name kept coming up in conversation all the time.”
It was when she went to dissolve her civil partnership that she discovered it couldn’t be terminated on the basis that her partner had not been unfaithful because of archaic, outdated laws.
“Why is there what seems to be clear discrimination?” Amy asked.
“It’s all fine for same sex people to have marriage, but we’re not allowed to divorce on the ground of adultery.”
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Amy said one of the divorce lawyers she consulted agreed that the law was completely unfair, but said it was simply the way the system worked.
The result was that Amy had to file to terminate her civil partnership on the grounds that her partner had engaged in “unreasonable behaviour”.
“I can’t help but wonder if I would have handled things differently if I had known that I could never have used adultery anyway,” Amy said.
While Amy wants the law to change, the Ministry of Justice said there’s no need for an amendment because of a new Divorce Bill which will be introduced in due course.
Under current legislation, couples must cite a reason for their divorce – but the new bill will remove that need to put a stop to couples assigning blame at the end of a relationship.
A spokesperson told BBC News: “By sparing them the need to play the blame game, we are removing the antagonism that this creates so families can better move on with their lives.”