As with most subjects, there are lots of people who are willing to give you a lot of advice when you announce you are going through a divorce.
From the status of the children, to who gets to keep the dog, it seems the world is full of experts who will be happy to tell you what to do to make sure you get the best deal.
Unfortunately, this has led to lots of myths that could cause more harm than good.
So, here are five we’ve uncovered, why they’re wrong and what the truth is.
Divorce always ends up in court
Many people put up with an unhappy marriage because they feel that getting a divorce will end up with both parties having to go to court - a scary and expensive prospect. But it’s actually very rare for this to happen.
Very often, and especially if there is mutual understanding, attending court won’t be necessary as everything can be worked out between both parties during mediation and any agreement reached simply sent to the court for approval without the need for the parties to attend.
My partner’s name isn’t on the mortgage - so we won’t have to split it
Unfortunately, this isn’t a loophole you can rely on.
ALL assets need to be taken into account, the fact you are married means it is more than likely to be “an asset of the marriage,” so it may be included in any settlement.
My husband/wife moved out, so they have given up rights to the house
Nope! It’s still an asset, see above!
I’ve moved out of the home, so I don’t have to pay the mortgage
The house remains a joint asset therefore the liability on the mortgage is still likely to be a joint responsibility.
As the husband, I’ll only get to see the kids at weekends
It can often seem that the husband always gets the raw end of the deal, only being allowed to spend time with the children every other weekend and at various weeks during the summer.
In fact, there is no set amount of time that each party spends with the children, and it’s entirely up for negotiation.
The myth probably comes from a time when the man was often the breadwinner, and so would be at work during the week, only having free time at the weekend. These days things are very different, and it’s just as common for both parents to be at work, so other arrangements will be necessary.
We’re in a common law marriage, so we have all the rights of a married couple
Unfortunately, “common law marriage” means nothing. It doesn’t exist other than as a social label for people who have lived together for a long time.
When you hear on the news that “Dave, and his common law wife Julie” have separated, you may as well say “Dave and his girlfriend...” As far as the law is concerned, there’s no difference, and they’re certainly not married.
Of course, you may have lived together for decades, have children, a dog, a mortgage and a holiday home in Spain, so if you decide to separate then you need to handle it. It may be as complex as a divorce so you might want to talk to a solicitor anyway.
Don’t believe everything you hear!
While it can be comforting to get lots of advice from friends and family, and they will probably want to tell you what you want to hear, you should always seek the advice of a solicitor.
There are no easy answers, and divorce is different for every situation, so don’t leave it to chance.