Rainscourt Family Law Solicitors

10 common misconceptions and myths about divorce debunked

In this article we discuss the divorce myths which we encounter most frequently when first speaking to our family law clients in Milton Keynes.

1. A “quickie divorce” does not exist

This is a term which has no meaning in family law. All divorces go through the same court process. The only variable is the “fact” that you use to support your petition, either adultery, unreasonable behaviour, 2 years separation with consent, desertion or 5 years separation by consent.

2. You either need to wait two years to secure a divorce, or blame your spouse for their behaviour or adultery in order to secure a divorce

There is a fault based divorce system in the courts of England and Wales. It is not possible to divorce on the basis that you both simply want a divorce, unless you wait for two years.

3. You will not get a better financial outcome if your spouse has had an affair, even if you have proof

The law does consider “conduct” as part of the financial process, but this type of behaviour will not be relevant.

4. Most financial settlements are not “50/50”

Unless there is more money than is needed, the court’s priority is to make sure everyone’s financial needs are met. It is rare for two spouses to have the same income and the same childcare responsibilities, which means that their financial needs are unlikely to be the same.

5. A deal reached in mediation is not binding

You are required to convert any deal you reach in mediation into formal legal wording, and submit the deal to the Family Court for consideration.

6. Only a judge of the Family Court has the power to convert your financial deal into a binding court order

If you do not submit your financial deal into court for consideration by the judge, it remains a private arrangement and you may not be able to rely on it at a future date. It also will not prevent either of you from applying to court in the future for more money.

7. A financial deal is not binding until the court “seals” or stamps a court order

Once you have a stamped court order, there is a binding court order in place.

8. You and your spouse can bring financial claims against each other after divorce, until a judge severs those claims in a stamped court order

If you divorce, but do not deal with your financial claims properly, either of you are free to make a financial claim against the other in the future.

9. Spousal maintenance gives your spouse the right to ask you to meet their financial needs in the future, potentially for the rest of their life

You must understand the implications of agreeing to a spousal maintenance order before you sign up to it. Spousal maintenance is variable, both in amount and in duration.

10. There is no formula for calculating spousal maintenance

To calculate spousal maintenance you need to work out what you or your spouse’s income needs are and what their income is. You may then need to meet the difference.

If you enjoyed this blog about divorce myths, you might also like to read 10 new surprising and unexpected facts about divorce in the UK

Myths about divorce

GOC Milton Keynes 004: “What Lies Beneath” by Peter O’Connor

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