It matters who files the divorce papers

When it comes to sorting out the financial arrangements between you following a divorce it does not matter whose decision it was to bring an end to the marriage. Nor does it matter what accusations of bad behaviour are made or how bad that behaviour sounds. Unless it has a bearing on the family finances it will not be taken into account by the court. Our family team would always recommend however that you seek to agree any details about what will go into the divorce petition with your spouse in order to keep relationships as amicable as possible.

The court will always order that the children live with their mother

Gone are the days when it was considered usual for the children to live with mum and have contact with dad. Shared residence orders are frequently made these days ; these do not mean that the children spend equal amounts of time with each parent but recognise that children have a home with each parent and the equal importance of each parent in the children's lives. Best of all of course, is if you can reach agreement on these issues without the need for court intervention.

I can get a quickie divorce

In this country, there is no such thing as a quickie divorce. Once you get to the halfway stage of divorce, the decree nisi, you still have to wait 6 weeks and 1 day before the final decree, the decree absolute, is pronounced. And that's only if you are the one making the application – the other party would have to wait an additional 3 months before applying.

Realistically you should allow four to six months, and you may not want to hurry things through until the financial arrangements are finalised. Once decree absolute is pronounced, you could lose the right to certain benefits such as pensions which should be secured before you make the final application.

I've got rights – I'm a common law spouse

If you are living with someone the law does not provide you with any protection should the relationship break down. This may mean that you have no rights to the house you've been living in for years. If you are thinking about living with someone, get advice from us about a cohabitation agreement. This will set out your respective financial responsibilities and also how your assets will be divided should the relationship come to an end.

You don't need a lawyer if everything's straightforward

Taking expert advice early can save you money. For example we can advise you regarding the timing of certain transfers of assets to enable you to benefit from capital gains tax exemption.

In even the most straightforward of cases you need to consider wills and inheritance tax as divorce affects inheritance.