Divorce – 4 popular misconceptions

There are several popular misconceptions about divorce which are often reinforced somewhat irresponsibly in the media. It is therefore important to dispel some of the myths to prevent any nasty shocks during divorce proceedings.

1. You can divorce during the first year of your marriage

This is not the case. Under no circumstances will you be able to divorce within the first 12 months of married life. Individuals must endure the remaining months of the year as a married couple before they will be eligible to file for divorce.

2. I can petition for divorce citing “irreconcilable differences”

This is a common misconception but ‘not getting on’ or ‘constantly arguing’ with your partner is not sufficient grounds for a divorce. In cases where the couple have not lived apart for 2 or more years, adultery or unreasonable behaviour will be the only acceptable grounds for divorce.

3. Divorces are invariably bitter

This is also untrue. Family mediation and collaborative law which look to provide friendly out-of-court settlements are are starting to become increasingly popular now. People generally prefer to avoid the stress and ferocity associated with bitter divorces and this means that solutions can generally be found constructively.

4. You cannot be accused of adultery for relationships you had post-separation

Incorrect. Regardless of how long a couple have been separated for, if one party begins a physical relationship with someone else before the divorce has been settled, it is classed as adultery. However, this will generally have little impact on the division of assets because it is only significant as a reason for seeking divorce.

Considering family mediation and collaborative law?

If your relationship has broken down and you’re thinking of getting a divorce, you might want to consider the possibility of using either family mediation and collaborative law. Both of these relatively new approaches aim to get all the parties working together to solve their differences in a positive and constructive manner – rather than fighting on every minor point, these approaches emphasise the need for a solution – a settlement that everyone can live with, not least the children. For the right people, and they certainly don’t work for everyone, we think these two approaches are fabulous – what’s more, we have two fully trained and accredited collaborative lawyers and two jointly qualified family lawyers/ mediators. So if you think that either family mediation or collaborative law could be the answer to your relationship breakdown – don’t hesitate to get in touch with us – and remember that when it comes to divorce and family law, both your first legal advice call and your first 30 minute appointment are both free.