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Divorce: the common myths

As a family lawyer I hear many myths about divorce.  I’m sure this is in no small part due to TV shows and celebrity gossip magazines but unfortunately many people assume these common myths about the divorce process are true.

One of the most common is the ‘quickie divorce’.  In actual fact, while the media sometimes portrays them in this light, it’s usually a 4-6 month process – if things run smoothly.

Many people are unaware that there is no such thing as common law marriage.  In fact there are no automatic rights to claim either capital or income if a relationship breaks down, so couples should put a cohabitation agreement in place.  I’m pleased to say this is something we are increasingly advising our clients on.

On a similar subject we often hear from parties to a divorce that they assume because they are married they are entitled to half of all assets and property. In fact, courts start at 50/50 but will then look at the needs of each party and adjust the percentages accordingly.

Also, children do not automatically live with their mother following a divorce – courts decide what is best for the children.  This may not always be to stay with the mother.

Much has been written about pre-nuptial agreements in recent months. There is a common perception in the UK that they aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. However, they are becoming increasingly common and more persuasive to a court. Most solicitors agree they can save time and money should things go wrong in a relationship.

Finally, people assume that divorce is expensive.  But many solicitors – including Napthens – offer a fixed fee service for divorce and financial matters.  So our clients can be assured that part of what is often a difficult and emotional journey is at least taken care of.

The best advice I can give anyone considering divorce is to have a chat with a specialist divorce lawyer.  At Napthens we provide a free initial ½ hr meeting so you have the opportunity to discuss your issues and to understand what’s really involved.