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Divorce Myths

There are many myths and misunderstandings around the topic of divorce. Here are some of the ones we come across most.

  1. Common law husband or wife

This myth comes up time and time again. The misconception is that the fact that a couple have been living together gives either of them some financial and legal rights over each other. This is simply not the case; there is no such thing as a common law wife or husband. Either you are married or you aren’t. Even if you’ve paid all the bills for decades, given up your job and looked after the children, if you aren’t married and you separate, you may be entitled to nothing.

We can assist you with drawing up a cohabitation or living together agreement that sets out how your assets will be divided if you split up and this can be done at any time in your relationship.

  1. Once you’re divorced, the finances are sorted too

No, the divorce and the finances are two separate things. Obtaining the final order in the divorce proceedings means you are divorced however, you or your ex-husband or ex-wife could still make financial claims against each other.  The finances need to be dealt with in a financial Consent Order or Financial Remedy Order.  We can assist you with addressing the finances and once an agreement is reached we can draft a financial order reflecting the agreement. This order will then be sent to the court for approval by a Judge to ensure that it is legally binding.

  1. You have to appear in court to get divorced

You don’t need to appear in court to get divorced.  If an agreement is reached in relation to the finances then the court can approve this without requiring you and your spouse to attend any court hearings.

  1. The spouse who’s done something wrong will get less money

When it comes to the division of the finances,  the court is rarely interested in the reasons why the marriage has broken down.  It doesn’t matter who’s done what. The court looks at the financial and housing needs of each party and any dependent children when making orders about the finances.

  1. You need a solicitor to get divorced

Whilst you can obtain a divorce without a solicitor, we would recommend that you have independent legal advice to consider the finances, such as the family home, pensions and other assets, to ensure that any agreement reached is fair and becomes legally binding to give you certainty for the future.

  1. You can apply for a ‘Quickie Divorce’

There is no such thing as a quickie divorce.  All divorce applications issued from 6th April 2022 when no fault divorce came into force have a minimum timeframe of 6 months from start to finish.

  1. My ex can’t have any of my pensions

You or your spouse may be entitled to a share of the other’s pensions. For example, if children arrive and the wife stops working to look after the children and ceases contributing to her pension, it doesn’t mean the husband can keep all the pension they have been able to build up because they have continued working.  There are different types of pensions and it is important to obtain advice in relation to pensions.  The court can share pensions on divorce and this needs careful consideration before finalising the finances.

  1. You have to be separated for at least 2 years before you can divorce

Up until April 2022 the law stipulated that, without blame, you had to be separated for at least 2 years if both parties agree to get divorced and 5 years if one party didn’t agree. The law has now changed and the need to apportion blame and have a minimum time period of separation has been removed.  In effect, you can now get divorced simply because the relationship has irretrievably broken down.

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