We did a video recently which you could find here which encouraged people to think about the kind of images that are portrayed in the media around divorce and separation. We suggested that anyone going through a separation should think about what they want the legacy of their separation to be? The idea behind it was to encourage people to think beyond the headlines and the click bait and the soap opera doom and gloom and think about what they would like to be the defining characteristics of their separation.

As a follow up to that we thought we would share our top 3 divorce myths that get talked about all the time in the media but really either aren’t true or don’t have to be true:

1. You can have a “quickie divorce”.

Here at LKW Family Mediation this one has us pulling our hair out in frustration. A divorce is the process used to end a marriage. It is a paperwork exercise with couples rarely ever having to go to court to sort it out. The divorce process only deals with ending the marriage and doesn’t automatically incorporate any focus on money issues or making arrangements for children. The only grounds for a divorce is the irretrievable breakdown of marriage. This is proved by way of referencing one of five different facts. Those facts are: adultery, unreasonable behaviour, separation for 2 years where the other party to the marriage agrees to a divorce, separation for 5 years (and the other party does not need to agree) and desertion (this is quite technically as it deals with a case where one spouse has literally deserted the other rather than just separating from them). The process of divorce is the same regardless of which fact you base your divorce on. The process is also exactly the same even if you are a celebrity or household name! It tends to take around 4 to 6 months for all the paperwork to go through but often a divorce is not finalised until a couple have put in place a financial plan for their separation.

2. You have to go to court to sort things out

The headlines in newspapers, or the stories that get clicked on online, tend to be those that either involve ‘celebrities’ where details of their lives are being splashed as far as possible, or couples who have ended up in the High Court and spent eye watering amounts of money on legal fees. Sometimes there is talk of a new legal principle being splashed across newspaper headlines which often has a lot to do with the financial separation of assets and whether this is fair. Mostly this points are misreported in the media either because their significant is over egged, or because the issues have been misinterpreted or ‘spun’ to make them into a more exciting story.

The simple truth is that no one is required to go to court when they separate. Most couples prefer to make arrangements themselves rather than having a complete stranger decide things for them (even if they are a complete stranger with legal qualifications!). There are a range of processes that exist to help support couples who separate to make decisions about what happens next – including mediation. The court process can be time consuming, stressful and expensive and often neither party is happy with the end outcome.

3. If you are keen to keep relations amicable and calm between you and your ex partner or spouse then you need to have some form of ‘conscious uncoupling’.

The ‘conscious uncoupling’ term hit the headlines when Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin separated. We’re not sure that anybody really knows what it means. What we take from this term is that Gwyneth and Chris were expressing their intention to separate in a constructive way and to try to remain friendly to minimise the effect of their conflict on their children. We would whole heartedly agree that this is the best approach to take to any separation but we would suggest that people don’t need to get hung up on the term and tie themselves in knots trying to achieve something that is probably just a strange or fancy way of saying ‘we want to remain on friendly terms’.

If you have anything that you have often noticed in the media about divorce or separation then please comment below and we will reply back with our thoughts.

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