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Dispelling five financial myths surrounding divorce

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Dispelling five financial myths surrounding divorce

Vanessa Fox MMB Sheffield Blogger By Vanessa Fox

You will always find somebody ready to give legal advice and opinion in life. If it doesn’t come from a qualified legal professional, though, it should always be taken with a pinch of salt. Unfortunately, ‘bar room lawyers’ have generated many myths – none more so than in family law finances on divorce.

Below is the stark reality behind five financial myths surrounding divorce:

  • You will recover half of everything

    This is not always the case; the starting point in most divorce cases is an equal division, but the outcome is based on a range of issues, including the needs of the couple with first consideration being given to any minor children of the family; the length of the relationship; the age of both spouses and the financial and non-financial contributions of both during the marriage. The court also these days often look carefully at any pre-nuptial agreement.

  • You will get spousal maintenance for life

    The court rarely awards a spouse long term maintenance nowadays. Courts are required to achieve a clean break when possible, even when there is a significant difference in income. If spousal maintenance is deemed to be appropriate, then it will not necessarily last for the joint lives of the couple, particularly if the couple are relatively young and/or the relationship has been short. Maintenance can also be varied over the period.

  • A pre-nuptial agreement

    Is binding – whilst such agreements carry great weight, they are not binding and are just one of the factors which a Court will take into account when determining a fair financial settlement. To ensure a pre-nuptial agreement stands the best chance of being effective, it must be drafted correctly and follow the correct procedure. Obtaining legal advice from an experienced lawyer is key to this.

  • As a cohabitee, you will get half of everything when you split up

    Cohabitees have no legal status or automatic protection. Contrary to popular belief, ‘common law marriage’ has no legal status. Whereas there are clear rules in England and Wales for divorcing couples, there is no such provision for cohabitees. Cohabitees usually have no entitlement to anything other than strict property rights upon splitting from a partner (or on the death of their other half), no matter how long they have lived together.

  • You will get to keep your own pension

    Not necessarily, a pension is part of the marital pot so it will be taken into account and divided if appropriate. It is often the most valuable asset.

In any separation or divorce, the couple must each take advice from a family lawyer with an acknowledged reputation in the field, not friends or family, no matter how well meaning or certain of their facts they seem.

MMB READER OFFER – For a chance to discuss any issues over a 1 hour free consultation please email me on


Written on the  10th April 2018

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