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Top 5 Divorce Myths Debunked

1. I can get divorced in 6 weeks

The media reports celebrities getting a “6 week” divorce and online divorce companies say they can give you a “quickie” divorce. What they are actually talking about is a waiting period that has to happen between the second and third final stage of a divorce process.

The divorce starts with a form called a Petition, and once this is served and acknowledged, the second stage is applying for Decree Nisi. When this is pronounced, the person applying for the divorce has to wait 6 weeks and 1 day before applying for the final stage, Decree Absolute. This is where the six week myth comes from. The whole process can actually take 2-3 months depending on the speed of the Court you make your application to.

2. I paid for everything during our marriage and it’s all in my name, so it’s all mine

Some individuals can contribute a lot of financial wealth to a marriage, and they might believe that this will be all theirs after divorce. This is not always the case. There is usually a starting position of a 50/50 split of everything, and then the facts of the marriage are applied e.g. length of the marriage, if there are children etc. Some spouses may make financial sacrifices during the marriage, and the Court think this should be recognised. If you’re unsure whether you have an interest in your spouse’s wealth, check with a family solicitor.

3. If we get divorced, I won’t see the kids again

Getting divorced is an emotional rollercoaster for everyone involved, including the children. People can fear that their relationship with their children will change, but there is a presumption of the Court that children will always benefit from a healthy, supportive relationship from both parents unless there are any risks of harm to the children. It is important that people co-parent successfully even if they are no longer a couple.

4. We have a common law marriage, so if we break up I will be protected anyway

Common Law marriage is a total myth. If you are living together without being married, then you do not have the same rights as if you were a married couple. This can affect a lot of your joint finances and life security. If you wish to live with someone long term, but not get married, you can still secure your interests using a cohabitation agreement.

5. If I agree to pay their divorce costs, I will have to pay everything straight away

You may have seen mention of “divorce costs” within a divorce application. Sometimes you may be asked to pay these on behalf of the other party, or vice versa. Some fear that this means unlimited costs, including anything related to finances or the children. These costs are only in respect of the petition, decree nisi, and decree absolute, they must be reasonable, and they are only payable after decree absolute.

Watson Thomas Solicitors is a member of Resolution and are specialists in family law.  If you are considering a divorce we offer a free callback where we can discuss your current circumstances and provide some advice on the options available to you.