There are many myths surrounding divorce but can you believe everything you read? In this helpful article, we debunk five of the most commonly misunderstood myths about divorce.
1. Women Always Get Custody Of The Children
Firstly, we do not talk about custody anymore; we do not even talk about residence. We do talk about Arrangements for the child and where he/she is going to live.
Every family is different so the arrangements for each child will be different.
The Children Act 1989 says that the welfare of the child is paramount, and parents are encouraged to decide what is best for their child (rather than best for them!).
It often helps to draw up a Parenting Plan. Such a plan should cover the time that a child should spend with his/her parents and where they are going to live. It can also cover a lot more.
The courts will only get involved if the parents cannot agree and it is necessary to do so. More and more often nowadays, a child lives with their father or the time between the parents is shared, but not necessarily equally.
2. Women Get More In A Financial Settlement
It is often thought that the woman gets the lion share of a financial settlement, but any settlement will depend upon the financial resources and liabilities of the parties; what income, what savings, what pensions, what debts, and how much the house is worth. Every case is different.
The court (and therefore, the lawyers) must consider eight factors as well the principles of sharing, needs, and, rarely, compensation. The welfare of any child is “paramount”.
Often there is not enough to go around to meet everyone’s needs. Sometimes that means that one spouse gets more capital to provide a home but both parties will usually be expected to work, all things being equal.
Every case is different, but it is simply a myth that the wife always gets more in a financial settlement.
3. Adultery/Behaviour Means Your Financial Settlement Is Less
Legally this is simply not true.
The relevant section of the Matrimonial Causes Act says that behaviour, including adultery, can be taken into account when dividing the financial resources, but only if it would be “inequitable to disregard it”.
Examples where behaviour has been taken into account have included gambling away the family money or, in one case, the husband stabbing the wife so badly that she was unable to work.
Occasionally, one party does feel so guilty about what they have done that they agree a lower settlement, but the court will only impose a lower settlement in the most “gross and obvious” cases.
4. Non-Payment Of Child Maintenance Means That You Cannot See Your Child
If your ex-partner does not pay maintenance (more accurately Child Support) he/she can still see your child. The courts consider child support and child arrangements as two separate issues and you cannot use one to impact the other.
That cuts both ways. If your ex refuses to let you see your child, you cannot stop child support payments.
5. You Can Get Divorced In Just A Few Weeks
On average, at the moment, a divorce takes about 8-10 months, mostly because of a lack of judges and court staff to process the paperwork.
Assuming you have been married for at least one year, it can be possible to reduce that time significantly, but realistically it will still take about 4-5 months.
The Government is currently rolling out an online package. This should reduce some of the administrative delays. We shall see.
Often, the final decree, called Decree Absolute, is delayed until any financial issues have been resolved but, at the moment, the Law does not say that it must be delayed.
There is before Parliament the Divorce Dissolution and Separation Bill. This is likely to slightly increase the average time for a divorce from start to finish, although not by much, but it will make the Decree Absolute dependent upon resolving financial issues.
If you’re looking for solicitors in Wisbech or solicitors in March who are experienced in handling divorce cases, Bowsers must be your first choice. Contact our sympathetic, expert team today to find out how we can help.