There is a lot of information swirling around out there and sometimes it’s hard to know what’s fact or if someone’s trying to trick you into buying another hairdryer.
Videos circulate about a typhoon somewhere nearby and then your aunt says that was 7 years ago and there’s nothing to panic about.
Well Family Law is not immune to similar spreads of misinformation.
In this three-part series we will be clearing up some myths about various aspects of Family Law, starting with some points on divorce.
Q. If I obtain a Final Order there can be no future financial claims
In order to prevent future claims, you need a clean break consent order.
Even with minimal or no assets this is advisable to prevent claims on future assets e.g. inheritance/lottery winnings.
Q. I want a quickie divorce
There’s no such thing. Quickie divorces were obtained by Americans who went south of the border to Mexico to get a quickie divorce. All divorces in England & Wales take about the same time (in theory), once the divorce application has been issued at court.
The media frequently reports celebrity divorces saying that they have obtained a quickie divorce when the Conditional Order is pronounced. What they always fail to point out to their readers is that the divorce does not become final until the Final Order is pronounced, which is at least 6 weeks after the Conditional Order, possibly longer.
The celebs are still married. But that doesn’t make for a good headline, now does it?
Q. You must have a solicitor to get divorced
No you don’t, you can represent yourself. However, whether or not that is wise is another matter. If you represent yourself, you can very easily come unstuck. You may not end up with a fair or reasonable financial settlement. Even if you do, you will probably not be able to sort out the paperwork necessary to finalise the deal. For example, drafting a financial consent order is complicated and it takes considerable legal skill to get it right.
Q. I can’t get a divorce because my spouse will never agree
The new no fault procedure makes it difficult to defend a divorce. The only exceptions question either the validity of the marriage itself or the jurisdiction of the court. If your spouse chooses to ignore the papers, there are ways to move forward without the other side’s co-operation.
Q. Divorce will cost us both £100,000 in legal fees
I was startled recently to see a senior family judge describing what he felt was a typical divorce – a couple with assets of £700,000 would probably incur legal bills of £100,000 each.
Maybe in his world, with expensive London lawyers and proceedings in the Principal Registry and perhaps the Court of Appeal. But in a normal case in a provincial county court, it’s nowhere near that costly.
Divorce is not cheap, but it’s rarely that expensive. Anywhere between £2,500 and £10,000 is common, perhaps up to £20,000 if you are unlucky and you have to have a trial.
Speaking about money, next month we’ll be looking at some of the myths surrounding the finances when it comes to divorce proceedings.