We have put together and busted the top 10 divorce myths.  Read on to find out what they are and how they could affect you.

Myth 1: “As common law husband and wife we have the same rights as our married friends.”

Busted: This is simply not true.

Unfortunately, unlike married couples, it doesn’t matter whether you have been living together for a couple of months or many years, you do not have automatic rights to your partner’s assets on separation.

There is no such thing as a common law spouse.  The legal position for unmarried couples who separate is very complicated.  It is important to speak with a family law specialist to understand where you stand and what you’re entitled to. It could cost you otherwise.


Myth 2: “My husband is refusing to divorce me, so I have to stay married to him!”

Busted: It takes two people to make a marriage work.

You cannot fix a marriage on your own.  If you feel that you have had enough and there is no way back, you are entitled to ask for a divorce.  Your spouse doesn’t have to agree to a divorce for you to get one.  Whilst of course, your spouse can try to object, ultimately it is still possible to pursue a divorce whether they agree or not.


Myth 3: It’s all her fault so she should pay for everything!”

Busted: Divorce is a very emotional time for everyone.

You may feel that your partner is to blame for the situation and that they should pay for their actions.  Whilst there is scope within the law to claim some of your costs, this is usually only associated with the divorce itself and not in sorting out your finances.

In general terms, the law is concerned about what will happen in the future and not what’s happened in the past.


Myth 4: “Can I have a quickie divorce like all the celebrities?”

Busted: You may have read in newspapers or heard in the news about celebrities getting quickie divorces.

You may also wonder if you can get one too.

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a “quickie divorce” and all couples, immaterial of their status or wealth, have to follow exactly the same process.  The quickie divorces you may have read about usually refer only to getting the initial decree of divorce, the Decree Nisi.  This means that at this stage, the couples you are reading about are usually still married.


Myth 5: “We want a divorce based on irreconcilable differences.” 

Busted: Irreconcilable differences is very much an American term and not a ground for divorce that can be used in English law.

Currently there is only one ground for divorce that is recognised in English law and that is that your marriage has broken down irretrievably.  This is then proved by establishing one of 5 facts:

  1. Your spouse’s adultery;
  2. Their behaviour;
  3. You have been separated at least 2 years and they agree to a divorce;
  4. Your spouse deserted you at least 2 years ago; or
  5. You have been separated for last least 5 years.


If you have heard and believed any of these myths, you are definitely not alone.  Knowledge is power and with that in mind we would always recommend that you speak with a specialist family lawyer if you are considering divorce or separation.

We have a team of highly knowledgeable and compassionate specialist family lawyers who are on hand to help.  Call us today on: 01423 594680.

To speak to one of our friendly solicitors for a confidential chat give us a call today on 01423 594680.

Andrew Meehan is an experienced family lawyer specialising in complex divorces involving significant or hidden assets, as well as cases involving children.

He is recommended for family law by both Chambers 2019 (York, Hull and surrounding regions) and the Legal 500 2020 (Leeds/West Yorkshire and North Yorkshire region).

Everyone’s circumstances are different and this article is provided by way of general information only and must not be relied upon.  If you require legal advice on a family law issue, please feel free to contact us by emailing enquiries@harrogatefamilylaw.co.uk.