The first gay "divorce"

Gay marriage breakdown

08.12.2006

Darryl Bullock and Mark Godfrey, one of the first couples to marry when "gay marriage" laws came in last year, are to separate.

Mr Bullock said "We were really proud to be one of the first couples to have the service and we had a great six months but then things went wrong.

"I suppose we were part of history and I have got lots of press cuttings from that day but we didn't do it to make the news or just to be first.

"We were completely committed but things change in any relationship. We are lucky that there is no property or kids involved but we have both moved on now in our own way."

Civil partnership

The couple were one of the first in the UK to undertake a civil ceremony on December 21st 2005. They intend to annul their relationship, though, by law, they must wait until one year after they first married.

Darryl and Mark had been together for three-years before the relationship began to fade when they grew apart and Darryl has now taken legal advice about ending the partnership.

He said: "It's in the lawyers' hands. I've spoken to my solicitor who will take whatever action he thinks is fit on or after December 21.

"It could end up being one of the first dissolutions but it's not my intention to jump the gun to be the first."

He added: "My experience hasn't put me off. If I meet the right person at some point in the future I'll give it a go again.

"I can't think there'll be a vast rush of gay and lesbian couples rushing to dissolve their partnerships on December 21. Most couples I know are blissfully happy.

"It's just like heterosexual couples. Some people have their problems and some don't get over them."

Mark Godfrey was not available for comment.

In marriage, divorce proceedings first grant a conditional cancellation, or decree nisi, before later formally ending the marriage with a decree absolute.

In civil partnerships, couples dissolve their partnership rather than divorce, and the first stage is to be described as a conditional order, followed by a final order.

Unlike marriage, however, adultery is not grounds for dissolution - because the law only recognises adultery as sex between a man and a woman.

Civil partnership expert

Family Law expert Martin Loxley of Irwin Mitchell Solicitors said "It is always very sad when any relationship breaks down particularly as the vast majority of couples enter into the formality of marriage with complete commitment to each other. I would not expect a rush of civil partnership dissolutions because the Act which introduced the arrangement is only 12 months old."