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Dispelling Common Divorce Myths

Divorce can be a difficult and disruptive time with many questions looming about each person’s future. In this article we shed light on some common myths around divorce including child arrangements custody, legal fees and division of marital assets.

It is always best to consult a divorce solicitor for advice on your own specific circumstances.

Are mothers favoured in family court?

Family court decisions regarding children are complex, and each case will turn on its own specific facts and circumstances  The primary goal is to ensure that the arrangements that are made as to with which parent the child(ren) are to live and the time they are to spend with the other parent is in their best interests. The starting point is to presume that the children are to have a natural and fulfilling relationship with both parents unless there is a compelling reason for them not to. The Courts do not favour the mother over the father and their roles in caring for and bring up their children are seen as equal. In many cases, where there are no safeguarding concerns in respect of either parent and the parents are able to co-parent effectively, a shared care arrangement would likely be appropriate with the children sharing their time between both of their parents in an arrangement that works practically for the whole family. , Historically mothers were often presumed to be the primary caregivers,  the approach of family courts has however evolved over time and this is no longer the case.

The Family courts recognise  that both parents can be equally capable caregivers. Society’s perception of gender roles and parenting has evolved. Fathers are now more involved in child-rearing, and the courts acknowledge the importance of maintaining meaningful relationships with both parents unless there are compelling reasons not to.

Are divorce cases always expensive?

Divorces can vary greatly in terms of cost depending on the complexity of the case and the approach and cooperation of  the parties involved. “No Fault” divorce is now able to be applied for in England and Wales, which means that from the outset the divorce proceedings are amicable, as neither spouse is alleging blame against the other and therefore the costs of the divorce itself will reflect the fact that the proceedings are relatively straight forward.

If both spouses are then able to communicate and collaborate effectively, with the assistance of their lawyers,  they may also be able to reach an amicable resolution outside of court in respect of the division of the marital finances, which will mean that an agreed order can be applied for, again meaning that legal costs are kept to a minimum By working together with the assistance of skilled lawyers or  engaging in mediation or alternative dispute resolution methods, couples can often avoid the expenses associated with a lengthy court battle.

Find out more about our divorce fees at Ward Hadaway.

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Are assets always split 50/50?

The specific circumstances of the marriage and the financial situation of each spouse will  influence asset division. The Court must have regard to all of the circumstances of the case with first consideration being given to any minor child(ren). The Court must then have regard to the Section 25 Factors in the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 which include consideration of:

  1. The income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future, including in the case of earning capacity any increase in that capacity which it would in the opinion of the court be reasonable to expect a party to the marriage to take steps to acquire
  2. The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future
  3. The standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage
  4. The age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage
  5. Any physical or mental disability of either of the parties to the marriage
  6. The contributions which each of the parties has made or is likely in the foreseeable future to make to the welfare of the family, including any contribution by looking after the home or caring for the family
  7. The conduct of each of the parties, if that conduct is such that it would in the opinion of the court be inequitable to disregard it. It is uncommon for the Court to take conduct into account, however, in some cases, where one spouse has engaged in conduct such as financial misconduct, such as hiding assets or  dissipating marital funds, the court may consider these factors when dividing assets with that  party  receiving a lesser share of the assets
  8. The value to each of the parties to the marriage of any benefit which, by reason of the dissolution or annulment of the marriage, that party will lose the chance of acquiring. For example, pension rights

Family courts continue to evolve over time to better fit the needs of individuals, therefore common myths about divorce are no longer true. As a full-service law firm, we draw on expertise from all departments. Taking a holistic approach to our services allows our divorce solicitors to provide comprehensive legal advice to our clients. For a free and confidential chat about your situation and to find out how we can help, please contact our expert divorce solicitors

If you would like support or advice about any of your family circumstances, please complete the form below and a member of the team will be in touch to find out more.

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    Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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