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Mythbusters guide to: Divorce

Myth #1

I didn’t cause the marriage to break down, so I’ll get a better financial settlement

The reasons why a marriage is ending are not usually relevant to how family assets are shared on divorce. When considering how to do so, many factors have to be taken into account, including whether there are children, the financial resources available and what each person needs to move forward with their life. The conduct of either party is not usually relevant.

Myth #2

My husband or wife won’t be able to claim any money from me after we’re divorced

The granting of a decree absolute at the end of the divorce process doesn’t prevent either party from making a claim for financial provision against the other. Certainty on this can only be achieved by obtaining a separate order from the court that states that neither party can make a claim of this nature. This is usually referred to as a ‘clean break’.

Myth #3

We were married, so we’ll just split everything 50/50

While it can sometimes be appropriate to split family assets equally, this is often not the case. When considering the terms of a financial settlement, issues such as the financial needs of the parties and their different incomes and pension funds can often mean that an adjustment away from an equal split of the family assets is appropriate.

Myth #4

If either of us starts divorce proceedings, we’ll have to go to court

If the divorce is not opposed and a financial settlement can be agreed amicably then it’s not necessary for either party to the divorce to attend court in person – only certain documents need to be supplied to the court as part of the divorce process.

Myth #5

The process of divorce will always be expensive and difficult

Early advice from a solicitor enables you to focus calmly on the issues that need to be addressed as part of the divorce, which should help you avoid unnecessary conflict. Talking to a professional can also provide a clear picture of the options – such as family mediation and collaborative law – that are available to help minimise both the cost and emotional impact of divorce proceedings. In addition, if agreements can be reached in relation to the divorce and financial matters, then fixed-fee options might be available to help with the legal costs.

For more information or advice on this topic, or any matter relating to family law, please contact Richard Dilks, Solicitor and Head of the Family Department on 01603 660 811 or richarddilks@hatchbrenner.co.uk

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