1. That you might not have sufficient grounds to divorce
There is only one ground for divorce – that there has been an irretrievable breakdown in the relationship. This is proven with a fact, and there are five facts available to choose from: unreasonable behaviour; adultery; 2 years of separation with consent; 5 years of separation without consent and desertion. The examples of unreasonable behaviour can be brief, limited to 3 or 4, but ultimately, there will be some examples which you will be able to put forward to secure a divorce.
2. Everything gets split 50/50
There is a misconception that finances on divorce are split equally, regardless of the respective childcare responsibilities and earning power of each spouse. The starting point is in fact the concept of “needs”: what does each spouse need to live their lifestyle, and more importantly, meet the needs of any children of the family. If one spouse is a carer, and their earning power is thus impacted, this is likely to affect the likely financial division. Ultimately, a financial settlement is at the discretion of a judge, guided by a set of factors set out in law which they need to take into account, such as the ages of the parties, their circumstances, and their needs.
3. That pensions are not worth bothering with in a divorce
Pensions are worth bothering with. They can be very valuable, and they can be shared on divorce. You may well need to instruct a pension actuary who specialises in divorce to determine what the true values of the pensions are and the best options for maximising the most efficient pension share. It is also currently possible to share an additional state pension on divorce, and use your former spouse’s national insurance record to increase your basic state pension to its maximum level.*
4. Divorce solicitors just make things worse (and we are a bitter and cynical lot)
A good divorce solicitor will advise you on the best way to proceed to secure the best outcome in your case. Alternatively, if you have already reached an agreement with your spouse, they will prepare the documentation you need to seek approval from the judge, ensuring that your legal rights and claims are dealt with properly.
5. There is no such thing as an amicable divorce
Collaborative law, in which divorcing spouses and their representatives can reach agreement round the table, continues to provide separating couples with an option outside of the traditional court or solicitors’ letters approach. Through a series of meetings, issues are identified, and solutions achieved. Even if this is not an appropriate forum for you, an amicable divorce can be achieved through sensitive negotiation and discussion. It can be done.
A final misconception – Milton Keynes is just roundabouts and concrete cows. It’s not.
*These rules will only apply to those who reach State Pension Age before the introduction of the single-tier state pension on 6 April 2016. The Government will then use the National Insurance records of an individual’s spouse or civil partner up to and including the tax year before the implementation of single tier to calculate any derived entitlement.
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