To 10 mistakes people make on divorce

Top 10 Mistakes People Make on Divorce

(and our advice on how to avoid them)

1) The mortgage company will take me off the mortgage, if I move out or when we divorce

This is a common misconception. A mortgage company will need to do a new application and credit check / affordability check on the new sole applicant. You will normally need to instruct a solicitor to remove your name from the deeds as well. Our friends at Hanson Wealth can help here, as you may as well look at the whole market if you are doing a new application, not just use your existing provider. Remember in the mean time, you are both jointly and solely liable for the full sum of the mortgage. A court cannot order any changes to that contract. 

2) If my ex moves out, they cannot come back to the property

This is incorrect. You can change the locks, take their name off the bills etc, but whilst their names are on the deeds, you ex can return to the house at any time they wish. If you change the locks and they break in, they have only criminally damaged their own property, so the police will be unable to intervene. If there has been domestic abuse, you can seek an injunction, but if not your best bet is to agree what will happen as quickly as possible. This is where mediation or Divorce Friend can help you both.

3My ex has not returned the children on time, so I am going to call the police to return them to me. 

I have actually been called to a few of these incidents, whilst in the police. Police have no power to remove the children from someone with parental responsibility, as long as they are safe. You can arrange for a child arrangement order if you want a legally binding order stating where the children will stay and when. Your Divorce expert can advice you on this.

4) The financial dispute will get sorted out by the judge with the divorce

The divorce is a separate process to any financial order hearing. You can get divorced without sorting any of the finances out, although it is not at all recommended. Similarly you cannot just apply to the court to make a decision on your dispute. You will need to complete Form E’s and attend 3 separate hearings before you will get a decision. You must attend a mediation information meeting first as well. The average cost of all this is £20,000.

5) We can rush through a divorce quickly like the celebrities do

A divorce has 10 separate steps and will usually take between 8 and 10 months to finalise. If you are planning on getting divorced we recommend contacting us as soon as possible to get the process started for you. In many cases we can agree your divorce in just 90 minutes.  

6) We can divorce on the ground of irreconcilable differences

You need to prove one of 5 grounds, and only 2 grounds apply if you have not been separated for more than 2 years. We will help you both to agree the grounds that a court would find acceptable.

7) Because my ex had an affair / was bullying / did not contribute any money to the family / is a nasty person, then I should get a larger share of the assets.

The courts do not take behavior during the marriage into consideration, unless it is extreme (ie a heroin addict, ran up £50,000 gambling debts, etc). The court aim to meet both your needs moving forwards. They don’t take the reasons for the breakdown in your relationship into account when looking at the finances and therefore, neither should you.

8) By naming the party who my ex had an affair with, I can gain an advantage.

The courts do not take kindly to the third party being named on the petition and a judge will want to know why this is the case. You are better of stating the reason for divorce as adultery. It will move things forward quicker as well.

9) Confusing the finances with the parenting arrangement

The matter of Child Maintenance payments is completely separate to the relationship each parent has with their child. It is now enshrined in law that a child benefits most from easy and regular access to both parents (with the usual caveats if they are a drug dealer etc). Arrange a parenting plan you both agree to, then stick to it and your children will reap the benefits.

10) I expect the court to be fair and consider my point of view, thus making the ruling in my favour.

No one goes to court thinking they will lose.  The court will also consider the other parties point of view and we have seen first hand the most extraordinary rulings, both in parenting and financial matters. A solicitor can give you the best advice but it is not necessarily what the judge will think as well. We never recommend representing yourself at court. We never recommend sorting parenting or finances out at court, unless you have no choice.