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Divorce: the financial misconceptions

Apr 26, 2019

Divorce is about untying a couple’s connections and there is no getting away from the fact that money, property and other assets are a central focus.

Each party will want to ensure that they get their fair share, and so they should but expectations are not always the reality, primarily because of the many myths around divorce.

Our top five:

  • I’ll get half of everything.

While that might happen, don’t assume that it will. It’s a broad-brush approach that could deliver a fair result for some couples but it risks overlooking interests in valuable assets and different contributions to the marriage. While it’s open to a divorcing couple to reach their own financial agreement (and a 50:50 split could be the basis of that), our job as lawyers is to make sure that you get the right outcome. Your former partner’s lawyer will be doing the same for him/her.

  • It’s my ex’s fault that we’re divorcing, so I should get a much better deal than her/him.

That’s not how it works unfortunately. While unreasonable behaviour has historically been a basis for establishing the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage (the first step towards getting a divorce), it is very rarely reflected in the financial settlement.

  • The house is in my name, so he/she can’t touch it.

Not necessarily. It doesn’t follow that because the family home is in your name, as opposed to being jointly owned, you will retain all rights over it. A court will look at all the circumstances and could even decide that your ex should continue to live there. It really does depend on your situation.

  • I signed a pre-nuptial agreement but it’s not worth the paper it’s written on.

While pre-nuptial agreements are not legally binding in the same way that other contracts are as you cannot oust the jurisdiction of the court, they are far from worthless. They show the parties’ intentions and a court could well be influenced by those agreed terms.  

  • It’s not worth paying for a specialist solicitor.

We recognise that there are routes to divorce that don’t involve Family lawyers like us and we’re fine with that. However, please think through your options carefully. Could you afford not to have an expert on your side?

For advice on any aspect of divorce including financial settlements, please contact a member of our family department at family@bsandi.co.uk or call for an appointment on 01264 353411.


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