Divorce and Separation Myths

Myth

“Been married a year. Marital home was my home for 11 years prior to marriage and deeds are in my name only. Husband has his own property owned outright. If we were married for a long enough period of time and then divorced, my husband would be entitled to a share of what was my property but I would not be entitled to any share of his. We have no children either from the marriage or previous relationships..”

Fact: Click to view

I think you have assumed that you would not be entitled to anything from the house in his name? That is not correct, after a long enough period of time.

Courts would look at all the facts and try to balance out the finances and they will do that the more, the longer the marriage continued.

You may have heard of prenuptial agreements? They are for before marriage but if you want to protect the house, you can make one now and then it is called a post nuptial agreement. Just let me know if you want some advice from one of our lawyers on this.

Myth

“I have heard that because my husband and I have agreed we want to divorce, we can do so just by showing we have irreconcilable differences and therefore don’t have to wait.”

Fact: Click to view

This is not true as there is no such thing as a no fault divorce, although there is current pressure on the Government for change. The petitioner still needs to establish adultery or unreasonable behaviour as reason for the breakdown if they do not wish to wait for a period of two years’ separation, at which stage they can divorce with the other party’s consent.

Myth

“It is not true that you are compensated for unreasonable behaviour.”

Fact: Click to view

Who divorces who and why are almost always totally irrelevant to the financial settlement. The only time it is relevant is when the behaviour is extreme.

Myth

“My husband is going to divorce me because he says I am unattractive and don’t make an effort any more. This is not a valid reason for divorce.”

Fact: Click to view

Technically, it can be. Anyone can start a divorce on the basis of the other person’s behaviour, and it doesn’t have to be proven to be correct. This would come under the grounds of unreasonable behaviour and is the most common ground for divorce in the UK.

Myth

“If we wait for two years, we can get a ‘quickie’ divorce automatically.”

Fact: Click to view

There are five different grounds for divorce:

  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Adultery
  • Two year’s separation with consent
  • Five year’s separation without consent
  • Desertion

In each case, the divorce process is virtually identical, and will take the same length of time. Currently, this is between four and six months from start to finish. There is no ‘quickie’ option, despite the media often using the word, and it is not an automatic process.

Myth

“If I am the one to file for divorce, I will get a larger share of the assets.”

Fact: Click to view

It is largely irrelevant who divorces who. Unless there are severe issues of conduct, it is unlikely that it makes any difference on issues such as children and finances. The only circumstances where getting in first may be important are when you could chose which legal system to get divorced under. For example the English divorce laws are often seen as more favourable to wives than certain other countries.

Myth

“We have lived apart for five years, so I can automatically be divorced.”

Fact: Click to view

Divorce is not automatic under any circumstances, although after five years separation consent of the respondent is not needed but service of the papers on the respondent still needs to be dealt with

Myth

“My husband has given me the Islamic Talaq divorce in the UK but this is not sufficient to be recognised here as a divorce.”

Fact: Click to view

There are strict guidelines concerning the granting of a divorce in the UK. Generally speaking, a Talaq divorce can be valid if it is given in the country in which the marriage was performed, provided certain criteria are met. A Talaq, properly executed, with witnesses, combined with the required notice periods as per Sharia law, can be recognised in the UK making a divorce superfluous.

Myth

“I had a Nikkah (Muslim marriage). I am therefore married under UK Law.”

Fact: Click to view

The Islamic marriage (Nikkah) is recognised in the UK provided certain criteria are met. The marriage ceremony must be undertaken in a mosque or other place of worship that is registered in accordance with the laws in the UK before it can be accepted as a valid marriage. Most places of worship are not registered as such. That means that any marriage ceremony performed in an unregistered establishment is not recognised as a valid marriage under UK law.