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    10 divorce myths and common questions

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    If I divorce I will lose any entitlement to my spouse’s pension?

    No you won’t. You can obtain a pension-sharing order to secure your interest in his or her pension.

    The house is in my spouse’s name so I can’t make any claim against it.

    Yes you can. All assets are taken into account when sorting out property and financial issues, regardless of whose name they are in.

    I’ve been separated for two years so I will automatically be granted a divorce.

    Not true. The procedure for a divorce if you have been separated for two years is exactly the same as if you had issued proceedings on the basis of adultery or unreasonable behaviour and will take the same length of time.

    Children will automatically stay with the mother if a marriage or relationship breaks down.

    Not necessarily. Who the children live with depends on what is in their best interests. This takes a lot of factors into account and there are cases where children live with their father.

    I become a ‘common law’ husband or wife after living with my partner for six months, or one year, or two years and therefore I am automatically entitled to half of everything.

    ‘Common law husband or wife’ is not a legal term and there is nothing in law to say that after you have cohabited for a certain length of time you will automatically be entitled to anything. The facts of each situation must be considered to establish a fair settlement.

    I’ve got a business and my husband or wife has never had anything to do with it. Surely this will not be taken into account when we are sorting out our assets?

    Yes it will. All assets, whether in joint names or sole names, must be disclosed when property and financial issues are being resolved.

    My husband or wife has never worked.  I’ve paid for everything, including the mortgage and bills. Surely he or she won’t get anything as I have been the breadwinner and he or she has paid for nothing?

    Yes he or she will. Again, all assets and possessions are taken into account. It doesn’t matter if they are in joint or sole names and consideration will be given to the reasonable needs of each of you.

    I got divorced 12 months ago – surely my ex-husband or ex-wife can’t make any financial claims against me now?

    Unless you have an order from the court that sets out any financial agreement you have reached, then your ex-husband or ex-wife can make financial claims at any time in the future – unless he or she re-marries or dies.

    Women always get far more than men when it comes to financial settlement.

    Not necessarily. The law in relation to division of property and financial issues is applied equally to both men and women. So, if you have a situation where the wife earns substantially more than the husband and he stays at home looking after the children, he may well receive a higher settlement.

    What is a ‘quickie divorce’?

    There is no such thing. Most divorces from the outset to the pronouncement of Decree Absolute take about five or six months, if they proceed smoothly and are undefended. The term ‘quickie divorce’ is a media term which came about following the introduction of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 when getting a divorce became much quicker than under previous legislation.


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