Consulting a solicitor can be daunting, especially if you need advice about very personal and emotional issues.  However, discussing your problems with family and friends, some of whom will have been through family breakdown, can often lead to misleading and incorrect information.

Here are a few common myths and misconceptions:


  1. I’ve lived with my partner for over 2 years so I am a common law wife

This is not true. There is no such thing as a common law spouse. Even if you live together 20 years you do not acquire legal rights in relation to your partner’s assets and you cannot make any claim upon their pension or claim maintenance. Certain claims can be made if you have dependent children and you may be able to make a claim upon property if you can establish an interest in the property by way of contributions or shared intentions. In short, to acquire financial claims you must marry or enter into a civil partnership.


  1. I am divorced so my decree absolute protects me from financial claims

Your decree absolute will simply end your marriage. It will not prevent a court dealing subsequently with a financial claim.  Even if you agree between you what will happen and implement that agreement (for example sell the family home) your financial situation could come under scrutiny at a later date unless the agreement is recorded in a consent order which includes a clean break.


  1. Pre-Nuptial agreements aren’t worth the paper they are written on

Although they are not legally binding in England and Wales, they are a compelling factor which the court will consider on divorce so long as they have been properly prepared and both parties have had independent legal advice.


  1. Mediation is all about saving the marriage

Don’t confuse mediation with relationship counselling. Mediation enables couples to find their own solutions to issues arising from family breakdown. Mediation will help minimise conflict and is particularly beneficial for making future arrangements for children.


  1. Getting divorced costs a fortune!

Most cases do not cost anything like the high profile cases often reported in the media. Most cases settle by agreement and fees can be reduced further if couples resolve their disputes by alternative dispute resolution such as collaborative law or mediation. At Farleys we have solicitors trained in Collaborative Law who can assist you in deciding whether the collaborative process is for you.


For more information on Divorce, or any other family law issue that you and your family may be facing, please contact a member of our dedicated family law team on 0845 287 0939. Alternatively you can complete an online enquiry form and a member of the team will get back to you.