Well, with Christmas at an end and a new year upon us we thought it to be a prudent start to the year to dice through some common misconceptions (or even myths) and risks regarding divorce. This can be a useful resource to use if you’re currently going through a divorce, have one pending or if you’re thinking about divorce and are unsure on certain aspects.
- In legal terms, there really is only one ground for a divorce, and that is that a marriage has broken down irretrievably. When proving this case, there are five different areas – behaviour, adultery, five years’ separation or two years’ separation with consent. The common “Irreconcilable differences” is actually not a ground for divorce in England and Wales.
- If you were married abroad, or at least one of you has an international connection (even Scotland would be considered “international” if in England) – then it’s extremely important to act promptly when it comes to divorce. Whichever party that first initiates the divorce gets to essentially choose the country which the divorce & financial issues are dealt with. This can have an enormous impact on how much you may need to pay your spouse or indeed, how much you’ll receive from your spouse.
- There are multiple ways you can sort out your divorce and other financial issues. Going through the court isn’t the only way and mediation isn’t the only way. You could opt for collaborative law or family arbitration.
- There actually isn’t any such thing as a ‘common law spouse’. All cohabiting couples that aren’t married do not have any special protection under law. This fundamentally means that claims made by couples that live together can be extremely tricky and are normally prohibitively expensive. If you’re moving in with your partner or vice versa, it is very sensible to consider drawing up a cohabitation agreement to work out what rights you’ll each to the property have should you ever split up.
- There actually is no rule that a couple should split up their assets 50/50. Example, in some instances where there are young children involved and there’s not much money – the primary carer will normally get more than 50%. In instances where there is a lot of money, then one of the parties may receive more if they ‘brought the money in’ or inherited it.
- It is absolutely paramount that you keep abreast of the law at all times as it has been known to change rather suddenly. This is why it’s a great idea to hire the services of divorce solicitors who can represent you to ensure you’re doing everything above board.
Divorce and sorting out finances are separate processes, however, some parts do overlap. It’s not uncommon to see that people sort out their finances before a divorce is finalised (and there’s a tonne of reasons why this is a good idea). Also, you need to reach the decree nisi (also known as the halfway stage) so that the court can make an order dealing with finances.
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