Personal Law

Debunking Myths About Divorce

September 2, 2019

Considering a separation or a divorce can be a complex, emotional and confusing time, which sometimes isn’t helped by receiving the wrong advice, our family law team decided to pull together the most common divorce myths that they have heard and share their expert advice.

It’s impossible to obtain a no-fault divorce

If you have been separated for less that 2 years one of the parties will have to place blame on the other. This is usually put down as unreasonable behaviour or adultery. However, if you and your spouse have been living separately for 2 years and you both agree that you want to formalise your separation with a divorce, you can opt for a no-fault divorce.

If you have been living separately from your husband or wife for 5 years, you can also petition for a no-fault divorce even if they don’t agree to it.

Recently, a new legislation has begun its journey through Parliament to make it easier for couples to achieve a no-fault divorce. Read more in our blog.

You can get a ‘quickie’ divorce in 12 weeks

In our experience this really isn’t possible. Using a best-case scenario, if your divorce isn’t complicated and doesn’t include provision for the arrangement of children or division of assets, a divorce can pass through the courts in 4 months, however, in order to ensure a clean and conflict-free split it’s important to ensure that financial separation is completed before your Decree Nisi, and that can take longer.

You’ll get a better settlement if your spouse was adulterous

This is a huge myth. In reality the courts are only interested in the fairness of any division of assets or settlement agreement, not who has the most blame apportioned to them.

Factors that will affect the size of your settlement include whether you have the ability to find employment, how much you financially contributed during the marriage, whether you will be hampered from earning by looking after children, and your lifestyle and standard of living.

Prenups and postnups are legally binding

A prenup or postnup isn’t legally binding in England or Wales. In fact, in order for them to be upheld in court they need to have been written properly and fairly. If you are considering a pre or postnup we always advise seeking expert legal advice which will help the contract stand the best chance should you ever need to use it in court.

There is no such thing as a ‘common law wife or husband’

There’s a reason why people have spent years campaigning for the legalisation of gay marriage and marriage equality. It’s because no matter how long a couple live together they will never have the same rights as a couple who are married.

For co-habiting couples there are some ways that you can protect your mutual rights, but they are not equal to that of a couple who are legally married.

Adultery doesn’t count if you are separated

In the eyes of the law it does. If you are separated from your husband/wife and begin a new sexual relationship this can be used as proof of for adultery in a divorce petition.

A divorce means that you are no longer financially tied to your ex

This is one of the reasons why we recommend working through your financial settlement at the same time as your divorce. A divorce ends a marriage but doesn’t end your financial relationship, which means that years later your ex can make claims on inheritances, lottery wins, or property sales for example. We always recommend that our clients put a financial order in place to ensure that they can begin their new lives with a clean break from their exs.

If your ex fails to pay maintenance you can stop them seeing the kids

Courts see child maintenance and child custody as two separate areas, even though for you they may go hand in hand. Parents cannot use one to influence the other, so in much the same way, if you have been denied access to your children, you can’t stop paying maintenance.

The key thing to remember is that maintenance payments are meant to ensure that your child enjoys a standard of living that they deserve. They are not payments given for being able to see your child.

Whether you are already divorced and need legal assistance or are seeking a divorce, childcare or advice on your finances following a separation, our experienced team of family solicitors can help and advise you.

We offer a free, 15-minute, pre-bookable phone call with one of our experienced family law team. Alternatively, we offer a fixed £99 fee inc VAT  for a 45-minute meeting with one of our highly experienced family team. If you would like some confidential advice about a family legal issue, contact us today to book a meeting. Call 01795 742291 or email enquiries@jarmans-solicitors.co.uk