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Myths of divorce

3 Aug

We have all heard the horror stories of a bad divorce if these are keeping you up at night let me dispel some of these for you.

Women looking worried lying on her side in bed

Like anything in our culture, myths can start to build up which need debunking and divorce is no different. Here, we unpick some of the more common ones and provide advice on how to deal with the reality of the situation –

A quickie divorce
There is no such thing as a quickie divorce. In the best case scenario, the courts will take around four months (although more likely six months), to complete the divorce but it can be longer depending on your situation and whether or not you can both be amicable. Therefore, taking care of yourself is crucial and managing your mental health is essential. The resources section of my blog is full of tips.

A common-law husband/wife has the same rights as a married one
A common law marriage does not exist regardless of how long a couple lives together.  Without going through a formal ceremony and securing a licence, cohabiting couples have very little legal protection if the relationship ends. This can make for a messy and difficult break-up, especially so where children are involved. In this scenario, I would advise you to speak to a solicitor to find out your options and how else you can protect yourself. 

You can’t commit adultery if you are separated
If you are separated, but not yet divorced, and start a new relationship with someone – this is adultery, and can be used to form the basis of a divorce petition.

Prenups and postnups are legally binding
Whilst they are ‘worth the paper they are written on’, prenups are not automatically legally binding.  If a prenup is done properly and fairly then there is a good chance that it will be upheld by the court.  However, you are best to get advice from a solicitor as prenups can be complicated to draft and need to meet certain criteria to increase your chances of them being held up at a later date. 

You will get a better settlement if your spouse had an affair
Whilst adultery is grounds for divorce, there is no financial compensation for adulterous behaviour. The courts are more interested in finding a fair solution that meets the family’s needs, not punishing the spouse who strayed. 

 Most divorces go to court.
While you have to file papers with the court in order to get a divorce, that doesn't mean that there will be a hearing, or that there will be lengthy and expensive court battles. It is in both parties’ interests, both emotionally and financially, to be as amiable as possible to avoid court. The wait times and pressure on the court system alone should deter you, (especially thanks to the delays owing to the pandemic), let alone the long-term implications for you and your children.

Mothers are always awarded custody of the children
While there certainly was a bias in favour of mothers, the law has evolved (along with changes in society) to reflect that both fathers and mothers can secure custody based on the interests of the child. And the determining factors in this depend more on circumstances and characteristics than gender.

Divorce always leads to battles
Divorce can often be acrimonious and full of hostility, blame, and finger-pointing. But it doesn't always have to be like this. There is plenty of support out there to help you divorce amicably - collaborative divorce, mediation, coaching and lawyers who are focused on resolving conflicts (as opposed to, in some instances. starting or escalating them).

You will lose your friends 

Your social circle may change, but your true friends will stay around and find a way through with you. And you must remember through this process you will also meet new friends

You have failed 

Divorce is not a failure, it is not shameful or anything to be embarrassed about. IN fact, often your divorce can be a good thing. With the right support and mindset you can and will thrive and so will your children.

I hope this has helped to dispel any mistruths that may be keeping you stuck or feeling less than who you are. Divorce does not define you, only you can do that. To get more support get in touch. 

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