Southampton: 02380 713 060
Alresford: 01962 670 510

Email: enquiries@sousalaw.co.uk

Divorce Myths

It can cost £20,000 to £50,000 get divorced

This level of costs is unusual for the average divorcing couple however in divorce cases where there is a high level of dispute, numerous issues and/or there is no option but making an application to the court, then such costs can arise.  Sousa Law are committed to resolution outside of court if possible and manage costs with you throughout the case.  We are always clear on costs from the outset and our first meetings are free so no costs are incurred at all until you are clear about likely costs and how they will be met.

Our divorce is amicable so we do not want to involve solicitors

You do not necessarily need a solicitor to deal with the divorce paperwork itself, however if the procedure is not followed correctly additional court fees and delay can occur.  We offer a fixed fee to deal with this for you to avoid delay and additional court fees. On any divorce it is essential that there is a financial order, even if only to dismiss claims. Should a financial order not be made, even if you are in agreement, financial claims can be made by either of you many years in the future.  If you do not obtain a court order whilst things are amicable then this could lead to costly court proceedings in the future.  You will need a solicitor to draft a financial order and should not attempt this yourself.  We offer a fixed fee to draft the agreed financial order.

I cannot have any of my spouse’s pension when we divorce

A pension is often a substantial matrimonial asset, especially if it is a final salary or government funded pension.  Pensions must be accounted for when a financial settlement is being considered. Options involve sharing the pension, offsetting it or having an income stream from it.  The world of pensions is ever changing due to rules being introduced by the government.  Specialist legal advice should always be sought when looking at a financial settlement which involves pensions.

Going to a solicitor means I will have to go to court

This is not the case at all and indeed Sousa Law are committed to avoiding court for families where at all possible.  We promote collaborative law, mediation, arbitration and round table meetings.  Court is always a last resort.

My partner has behaved really badly – will this affect the outcome?

It is rare that a person’s behaviour will be taken into account when financial matters are being considered.  The behaviour may be a fact to be relied upon to issue to divorce proceedings and may be relevant in relation to any concerns regarding the arrangements for the children.

We have lived apart for five years so I can automatically get a divorce?

Divorce is not automatic under any circumstances and a petition to the court is always necessary.  If you have been separated for five years there is no defence to the divorce and you only have to show that your spouse has received a copy of the relevant paperwork.

We have lived apart for five years so I can automatically get a divorce?

Divorce is not automatic under any circumstances and a petition to the court is always necessary.  If you have been separated for five years there is no defence to the divorce and you only have to show that your spouse has received a copy of the relevant paperwork.

I was not married in the UK.  Does this mean I have to go back to the country I was married in to obtain a divorce?

No – you can obtain a divorce in the UK if you satisfy certain residence criteria, usually that you are habitually resident or domiciled in the UK.  Specialist advice is required urgently if there is a dispute over which country the divorce should be issued in as often there is a choice of country.

We agreed a financial settlement when we separated – is this binding?

Unless there was a final financial order upon divorce no financial agreement can be binding. If there was a formal prenuptial or separation agreement correctly drafted and executed this may be considered and upheld, however a verbal agreement or written and signed agreement without legal advice or drafting is unlikely to be relevant or biding.

Do I have the right to see my Grandchildren?

Grandparents do not have an automatic right to apply to the court for an order that they can spend time with their grandchildren – an application to the court for permission to make the application will also need to be made.  The court will always consider what is in the best interests of the children and if they have had an ongoing relationship with any family members, especially grandparents, this should not be changed without good reason.  Specialist advice in this area should be sought.

I have rights as I am living as a ‘Common Law Spouse’

There is no such thing as a common law wife or husband – this is one of the biggest myths of this generation.  You have no financial claims simply due to the fact you are living with someone no matter how long you have been cohabiting for.  If you have minor children you may have financial claims under the children act and if you have made payments and contributions towards a property claims may arise from this.  These are complex cases and specialist legal advice should be sought.  You can protect your legal rights you if you both wish by having a cohabitation agreement, also known as a Living Together Agreement.

If I move out of the family home then I will lose my rights to it.

The right you have to own or occupy a property will never change if you leave it.  Your ability to assert your right in relation to the property may become more difficult if you are not in occupation of it.  Legal advice should be sought before you leave the home.