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Divorce myths highlighted

A range of common myths about divorces have left people unaware of the realities of the process, an expert has warned.

Helen Lucking, head of Family & Divorce at Napthens solicitors, reveals that there are a range of common myths around getting divorced, thanks in part to TV shows and other media presenting an unrealistic picture.

For instance, many people assume divorces can be quick, but in reality will take between four to six months – if things run smoothly, which in some cases they do not.

Helen said other myths include the existence of a common-law marriage, that assets and property are always split 50-50 during a divorce and couples who want to get divorced based on ‘irreconcilable differences.’

She explained: “The divorce process can be complex and time-consuming, but it is also an important one which will ensure both parties are treated fairly. However, the Family & Divorce team at Napthens has found that there are common issues that regularly come up and which make it clear there are still some myths which need addressing.

“For instance, there is a misconception that pre-nuptial agreements are not worthwhile, but in fact they are becoming increasingly common and more persuasive to a court. They are particularly common in second marriages where parties bring assets to a relationship that they wish to protect.

“Many people refer to their partner as a common-law husband or wife, but there is actually no such thing. If a couple is living together and is unmarried, there is no automatic right to claim capital or income if a relationship breaks down, unless the couple jointly own assets between them.

“We often hear of people wanting a divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences, but again, this is not part of divorce law. A marriage must have irretrievably broken down under the 1973 act, which most people agree needs to be updated to include a ‘no fault’ divorce. As yet this has not been done.

“Finally, it’s important to remember that children will not automatically live with their mother following a divorce. Certainly, if a mother has been the primary carer for children, this arrangement often continues, but a court will always look at what is in the best interests of a child.”

For further information, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Family & Divorce team.

Family and Divorce - Partner - Helen Lucking