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Richard Perrins Partner Coles Miller

Three Big Questions To Ask Yourself Before Getting Divorced24th Nov 2016

Getting divorced means asking yourself (and others) searching questions that will have a crucial bearing on your future.Richard Perrins Partner Coles Miller

First and foremost…

1. Why Are You Getting Divorced?

And by that we mean the reason for your divorce.

The only ground for divorce in this country is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. You have to rely on one of the five following facts to prove this:

  • Adultery – your husband or wife had sex with someone else of the opposite sex and you no longer can bear to live with them. Under the law, it does not count as adultery if they had sex with someone of the same sex. You can’t give adultery as a reason if you lived with your husband or wife for six months after you found out about it.
  • Unreasonable behavior – your husband or wife behaved so badly that you can no longer bear to live with them.
  • Two years or more of separation – with the consent of your ex.
  • Five years or more of separation – without the consent of your ex.
  • Desertion – for two years or more (this is extremely rare).

The timescale for a divorce can be from four to eight months. 

2. What Will Happen To Your Children?

Your children are what matter most. Few parents would disagree.

Children arrangements need to be decided separately to the divorce process – but they can have an impact on the financial matters.

If possible, court proceedings should be avoided when resolving these issues. Mediation is a less stressful, cheaper and faster way of resolving matters. 

Whichever route you take, there are fundamental questions you must answer as soon as you can:

  • Who will the children live with?
  • How often and when will the other parent be able to see them?
  • How much child maintenance should be paid?
  • Which school(s) will the children attend?
  • What will happen during the holidays?
  • When will you introduce your new partner to the children? (And when will your ex introduce their new partner?)

As in so many aspects of separation and divorce, compromise and co-operation are essential.

3. What Will Happen To Your House/Flat?

Along with children, this is inevitably the biggest worry. Particularly if you own property.

How you own your property matters hugely. Even if you own your house or flat freehold, the word ‘tenant’ still comes into play.

Either you own your freehold property as:

  • Joint Tenants – you and your spouse own the property 50/50. If one of you dies, the other automatically gets the other’s share in the property.


  • Tenants In Common – if one of you dies, the deceased’s share in the property will pass in accordance with a will, rather than to the former partner.

So if you have a joint tenancy, you may want to think about severing it.

But whatever happens, you will both need to agree on:

  • which of you will continue to live in the property
  • how (and when) the other will receive their financial share from the property.

Your property is just one aspect of your finances. There are plenty of other things to consider when dividing assets.

For more information about dividing assets and for other important considerations about your divorce, read this blog post.

Making Divorce Less Painful

Monday November 28 sees the launch of a week-long campaign to help make divorce less painful for people.

The campaign by family law association Resolution – which includes lawyers from Coles Miller– includes a revised code of practice to help reduce conflict and confrontation.

On Wednesday November 30, Resolution will be lobbying Parliament: 150 members will be travelling to Westminster to meet with MPs in the campaign for no fault divorce (which currently does not exist in the UK) and for improved rights for cohabiting couples.

For more information, contact Coles Miller family law solicitor, Richard Perrins on 01202 355698


This document is not intended to constitute and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice on any specific matter. No liability for the accuracy of the content of this document, or the consequences of relying on it, is assumed by the author. If you seek further information, please contact Managing Partner Neil Andrews at Coles Miller Solicitors LLP.