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West Midlands Police Federation

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Common divorce myths

24 September 2019

Deciding whether your marriage has come to an end is one of the most difficult decisions you may ever have to make. If you’re contemplating a divorce it’s important to seek advice from a family lawyer as there are numerous myths surrounding family law, which can be misleading.

We explain five of the most common divorce myths:

1. Adultery has an impact on the division of assets
The only ground for divorce in England and Wales is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. Adultery is one of the five facts that can be used to establish this. However, adultery will not have an effect on the division of the matrimonial assets.

2. A spouse has no rights to the former matrimonial home if they’re not the legal owner
This is simply not the case. If you own the former matrimonial home, your spouse does have a right to occupy the property. The non-owning spouse is likely to register their home rights with the Land Registry. This ensure third parties, such as mortgage lenders or potential buyers, are notified of the non-owning spouse’s interest in the property. Whilst home rights don’t give a non-owning spouse a benenficial interest in the former matrimonial home, it’s likely to be considered as a matrimonial asset for the purposes of financial division.

3. A Police Pension will not be taken into account
This depends on the particular facts of the case. A Police Pension can be a significant asset of a marriage. A number of factors will be taken into account when considering whether your spouse is entitled to a share of your Police Pension and if so, the extent of that share. The factors include the length of the marriage, any period of cohabitation prior to marriage and any pension provision held by your spouse.

4. The Court will award nothing to the non-resident parent
When dealing with financial remedy proceedings the first consideration of the Court is the welfare of any dependent children. However, it doesn’t automatically follow that a resident parent will be entitled to all of the assets of the marriage. The resident parent will usually need a property to house the children. The Court will take into account a number of factors when deciding how the assets of the marriage should be divided including the financial resources and financial needs of both spouses.

5. All financial ties between spouses are cut once the Decree Absolute is pronounced
This isn’t necessarily the case. The decree absolute legally ends your marriage, but unless you have a Court approved financial order, financial claims against former spouses remain open. It’s important to ensure that a financial settlement is reached and converted into a Court approved financial order, to prevent any future claims against income or assets that are obtained after the decree absolute.

If you’d like specialist advice from a family lawyer please contact Slater and Gordon on 0808 175 7710 and we’ll be happy to help.



September 2020