People sometimes they think they know everything there is to know about divorce. But it’s strange how the same few inaccurate assumptions crop up time and again. Here’s my top six divorce myths:
- You need your spouse’s consent to divorce
Quite often when people are thinking about a divorce they believe that they need the other side’s agreement before they can progress. This is not the case. When issuing a petition showing that the marriage has irretrievably broken down by the other’s behaviour, you do not need their consent. Whilst we would always recommend that your spouse has sight of the petition in advance and that you should try to agree the particulars between you, you do not need the other’s agreement but simply need to show the court that they have been served with the petition in order to progress.
- You have to pay all of the costs
If you issue a fault-based petition, e.g. on the other’s behaviour or adultery, you can ask your spouse to pay your costs.
- The divorce ends all financial ties between you
This is not the case. A divorce does not bring about an end to financial claims upon the other. Therefore, it is very important that you seek independent legal advice regarding the implications of being divorced without a financial agreement in place.
- You can issue a petition based on the fact of irreconcilable differences
This country currently only has a fault-based system, unless both parties consent to the divorce and have lived apart for at least two years. Unfortunately, the court does not yet recognise a no-fault divorce, unlike in some other countries.
- A two-year separation with consent petition is processed more quickly
The divorce procedure is the same and takes the same amount of time regardless of the facts used to show the marriage has irretrievably broken down. If you are waiting until you have been separated for a period of two years, you cannot start the process until the two years have passed. The process and timescales thereafter will be exactly the same.
- The decree nisi is the final decree of divorce
This is usually cited in ‘soap land’, when a character receives their decree nisi and pronounces that they are divorced. This is not the case. The decree nisi is the halfway stage. Six weeks and one day from the pronouncement of the decree nisi, the decree absolute can be applied for. The decree absolute is the final decree of divorce.