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Common Divorce Myths

If you are contemplating divorce, it may surprise you to realise that some decisions you are making are based on misconceptions.

MYTH: I’m entitled to half of my husband’s/wife’s assets.

The split of assets depends on a variety of factors. These include:

  • Length of the marriage
  • The ages of the married couple
  • The earning capacities of the couple
  • Future prospects
  • Financial contributions to the marriage
  • Non-financial contributions
  • Whether there are any children

No one factor is considered more important than another. The Judge makes the final decision if it is not possible to reach agreement between you

MYTH: I’ll get maintenance from my spouse for life

If the judge decides you are to get maintenance, it is variable. For example, if you have been granted spousal maintenance and get a better paid job, you could see maintenance reduce. Equally, if your ex-partner’s income increases you could ask for more. Both cases would need to be taken back to court, and there wasn’t a ‘clean break’. But, the court will look to reach a final settlement if you end up in court.

MYTH: If I get a pre-nup, my money is protected

Pre-Nuptial agreements, or pre nups, are not legally binding.

A judge may take them into consideration if certain criteria are met.

Full disclosure of assets must be provided prior to signing the pre nup, you must both have legal advice and it must be signed at least 21 days before the wedding.

MYTH: My pension is mine, so I keep it.

Courts have the power to order that pension pots be shared.

You might be thinking that pensions have nothing to do with divorce as it’s for your old age. In fact, if the pension pot has increased over your marriage, it is seen as an asset.

MYTH: I have to go to court

Perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions about divorce is that you have to go to court.

In fact, if you are in dispute with your spouse, before an application can be made to court you must consider mediation first.

Samantha Lee, Head of Family Law at Swain & Co Solicitors and Mediator at Swain & Co Family Mediation Service, explains,

“The point of mediation is to reach agreements together. Once agreement is made the court can sign it off. The benefits of mediation are that it costs less than court battles, you and your ex are in control of decisions, and it often takes less time than going to court.”

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