1st May 2018

Divorce Mythbusters

There are many myths about who has what rights when a marriage breaks down. In our experience, a belief in those myths can lead people to make decisions they otherwise wouldn’t or shouldn’t make. Here are some common examples:

My divorce has been finalised, so my ex cannot make a financial claim against me.

Unless you and your ex have a court order specifically dismissing your financial claims against each other, they remain open, meaning that at any point in the future, either one of you can make a claim against the other, although once you remarry, you lose the right to initiate a claim.

My wife and I are separating because she had an affair. I have asked her to move out, but she won’t. Can I force her to leave by changing the locks?

If you own the property jointly, then you both have a right to live in it. If it is in your sole name but it is the family home, then your wife could obtain the right to remain by filling a Home Rights Notice at the Land Registry which lasts until the divorce is finalised. Therefore, whilst technically you can change the locks, if your wife wants a copy of the new key, you have to provide one.

My husband says that because he made the money, he is entitled to more of it.

The assumption is that, regardless of your respective roles within the marriage, you have both contributed fully and therefore the starting point for dividing capital on divorce is that it is shared equally, regardless of who “made it” and whether it is held in joint names or sole names. It is however possible to argue that money acquired before the marriage, after separation or by gift/inheritance should not be shared equally.

My wife says that because I want the divorce, I will get less money in the settlement.

Whilst there are many factors which are taken into consideration when deciding the appropriate financial settlement, the reason for the divorce is not one of them, except in very rare and exceptional circumstances.

Hopefully, the above demonstrates the dangers of assuming anything and how important it is to get expert legal advice, so that any decision you make is the right one for you.

If you would like further advice on divorce we offer a free 30-minute meeting. Please contact our team secretary Khaila Reid on T: 01892 502 335 or E: kreid@bussmurton.co.uk.

This article was first published in the September issue of the Wealden Times. www.wealdentimes.co.uk.