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Divorce myths

Government publishes no fault divorce bill

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After decades of delay, a bill introducing no fault divorce has received its first reading in the House of Commons. Under current legislation, in order to apply for divorce it is necessary to cite one of five “facts”: Adultery Unreasonable behaviour Desertion Two years’ separation with consent (i.e. your former partner must agree to the divorce) Five years’ separation without consent (i.e. even if your former does not agree) The need to cite a specific reason has been a source of controversy for years, with campaigners arguing that it encourages unnecessary acrimony between divorcing couples, incentivises dishonesty and adversely affects…

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What happens if you lose your job during divorce?

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There are few times in life when your finances will come under greater scrutiny than during divorce. In order to negotiate a fair financial settlement between you and your former partner, it is necessary to declare your income in full, along with all your financial assets, on the famous Form E, a document that anyone who has been through a divorce will recall vividly. But what happens if financial disaster strikes during this complex process? What happens, in short, if you lose your job – or your spouse does? Finding oneself unemployed is always a stressful event –your life has…

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Government to consult on ‘no-fault’ divorce

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In recent months, the government launched a consultation on ‘no-fault divorce’, calling for the existing fault-based system of establishing marriage breakdown to be abolished. This follows the highly publicised Supreme Court decision in Owens v Owens [2018] UKSC 41, where a wife of 40 years was refused a divorce due to ‘flimsy and exaggerated’ examples of unreasonable behaviour. At present, a person can only petition for divorce on the basis that their marriage has irretrievably broken down, and this must be supported by one of five ‘facts’: Unreasonable behaviour by the other party Adultery by the other party Desertion by…

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Needs vs ‘Meal Ticket for Life’?

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A new briefing paper funded by the Nuffield Foundation has found that high profile, ‘meal ticket for life’ cases have given a distorted view of final settlements in divorces. Dr Emma Hitchings (University of Bristol) and Joanna Miles (University of Cambridge) recently published a briefing paper outlining key findings from their research on financial settlements in divorce cases. The briefing focuses on the current debate over ‘meal ticket for life’ divorces and provides evidence to refute widespread anecdotal claims of women as lifelong ‘alimony drones’. A key finding from the study highlights that immediate clean breaks between divorcing couples are…

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