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What are Your Legal Rights in a Divorce?

Britain is projected to endure a surge in the rate of divorce this year, as a result of an economic downturn, and a backlog of couples looking for a new direction in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A divorce can be an extremely distressing process, especially if it’s not an amicable one. Ideally, you’ll go into it with the help of a specialised divorce solicitor, who’ll be able to provide the required guidance. If you want to get the best from your divorce, however, it’s always a good idea to have a grasp of the key concepts yourself.

Property Rights

If your property is jointly owned by both of you, then you’ll fall into one of two categories. You might be ‘joint tenants’, where you both own the property equally, or you might be ‘tenants in common’, which might allow for the ownership to be weighted in one direction or the other.

If your partner owns the property, then you’ll have the legal right to remain in the property in England or Wales, provided that you issue a ‘matrimonial home rights notice’. This will prevent your ex from selling the property. This is easiest if the property is on the Land Registry, but you can still do it even if the property is unlisted.

Financial rights

As part of the divorce process, you’ll be disentangling your finances from those of your partner. This might mean that any pensions, savings and investments are divided between you. Once you’ve agreed, you can apply for a consent order, so that you’re both legally bound by the agreement, and you can’t change your mind later on.

Having done this, you’ll be able to apply to court and get the final order, or ‘decree absolute’. Bear in mind that, having reached this point, your tax obligations may change – so be sure to factor this in when you’re deciding how to split the money. Bear in mind also that there are fees associated with sending the forms to the court.

Child agreements

Things can get complicated (not to mention emotionally charged) when children are involved. If you can reach an out-of-court agreement with your partner on where your children are going to live, and what sort of time each parent will be spending with them, then you’ll be able to cut your costs, and make the process much quicker. You’ll also need to think about how you’re going to financially support the children once you’re split. It might be that one party is expected to finance the childcare provided by the other.

If you can get a mediator involved, then you might be able to reach an agreement you are both happy with in a professional setting.

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