The team at amicable has spoken to thousands of people about their divorce. We've heard some weird and wonderful myths about divorce and separation and thought it was about time you had the facts. Here's amicable's top ten divorce myths that should be dispelled, immediately!
1: You have to use a lawyer/solicitor
It's completely possible to sort your divorce out yourself. You can use the government website and complete the steps outlined. Or you can use online services or a service like amicable if you'd like support on the legal bit of divorce as well as your childcare and financial arrangements.
2: It usually ends up in court
Going to court only usually happens if you can't agree. The courts are under huge strain so the government actually want you to settle things out of court. It's also extremely expensive so avoiding the courts is in most people's best interests, unless there are major complexities and disagreements between you and your ex
3: It's always expensive
Divorce can be expensive but it really doesn't have to be. If you are disagreeing and using solicitors, the cost can often spiral out of control. The average cost to get divorced and sort your financial split using a lawyer is on average, £8000 per person. Shocking, I know. But, there are so many cheaper alternatives.
4. Mum's always get primary care of the kids
Incorrect. Where the children will spend most of their time will depend on maintaining their stability, status quo, and security. There are often arrangements of shared care in situations where this is possible.
5. Someone has to blame the other
Unless you have been separated for over two years (and you both agree to the divorce) or over five years (just one person can want the divorce), then, yes, you are forced to enter a blame game. Unfortunately, in England and Wales, we do not yet have no-fault divorce so one person will have to blame the other for their behaviour, desertion or adultery to make the divorce official. Yes, our legal system is out of date, but take a pragmatic approach and you can avoid acrimony with your ex.
6. You can deny your ex-seeing the kids if they don't pay child maintenance
Childcare matters are dealt with in the family courts and not having a relationship with each parent is only a last resort. Child maintenance is dealt with by Child Maintenance Solutions and the paying parent is obliged to make payments to the other even if they are not seeing the children.
7. You can get divorced in 12 weeks
This might be a tempting marketing message some companies are using; but it's completely untrue. The truth is, it takes around five months for the paperwork to be completed by the court.
8. The kids choose who they live with
False! If you need to make an application to the Court to decide where the children are living (which should be a last resort) the children's views are represented by a CAFCASS officer who will speak to the children and observe them in their environment to decide what they think is in the child's best interests. The views of the children are only looked at as one of the factors (by the CAFCASS officer) and will depend on the age of the child and their level of understanding.
9. You can claim against each other financially in the future, even when you're divorced
Yup. This one often shocks people as you'd think that if you're divorced then financial ties are cut too. Without a consent order dismissing your claims against each other, you are still financially tied together and vulnerable to claims in the future. So, if you win the lottery in ten years and have not sorted a consent order, your ex could potentially claim for a proportion of your winnings.
10. A separation agreement is legally binding
The only document that makes your financial agreements enforceable in court, is a consent order. A separation agreement is good to do initially and is usually the basis for a consent order but it's not legally binding.
I hope this has helped understand the ins and outs of divorce in England and Wales a little bit more. If we've missed any myths that you'd like a clear answer on then please just get in touch via our divorce forum.
If you have any questions, or would like some support, please book a free 15-minute call with one of our experts.