We are often astounded by the amount of ‘fake news’ that circulates about family law. Media headlines, hearsay and someone relaying their bad day in Court without fully understanding and/or explaining the circumstances or reasoning behind a Judge’s decision are amongst the reasons why there are so many myths around.
Here are some myths that we have come across over the years which demonstrate the importance of seeking legal advice from specialist professionals if you are unsure of your legal position…
1. If your spouse has cheated on you, you will get more money in the divorce.
NOT TRUE. Adultery is a fact that can be relied upon in a divorce but it has no bearing on the finances or child arrangements.
2. In a divorce, the finances are always split 50/50.
NOT TRUE. The starting point is an equal split. The Court has to take into account all of the circumstances of the case and a number of specific factors such as needs and contributions, whether financial or to family life.
3. If you have a Pre-Nuptial Agreement, that is the end of it.
NOT TRUE. Pre-Nuptial Agreements are one of the circumstances of the case which the Court must take into account and can be departed from if required to meet needs.
4. Once you have Decree Absolute (the legal document which ends a marriage), your ex-spouse cannot make any financial claims against you as a result of your marriage.
NOT TRUE. Financial claims which arise by virtue of marriage can only be dismissed by way of an Order of the Court in full and final settlement, whether or not by agreement.
5. Upon relationship breakdown, the mother always ends up with primary care of the children.
NOT TRUE. The Court’s primary consideration is the children’s welfare and the Court must consider the welfare checklist when determining child arrangements, which is centred upon the children’s needs and wishes (wishes being more relevant the older the child).
6. Even if you are not married, you are classed as husband and wife in the eyes of the law if you have lived together for a certain period of time.
NOT TRUE. Unmarried couples do not have the same legal rights as married couples, regardless of how long they have been and lived together.
7. You do not have to pay child maintenance if you have no contact with your children.
NOT TRUE. Child maintenance is an obligation for the non-resident parent regardless of whether you see your children.