Misconceptions surrounding family law

Before having to deal with family law, many people have a number of misconceptions surrounding how this system works, and believe myths about the presumed outcome of many cases.

The family law courts take a case-by-case approach, reviewing each situation on an individual and circumstantial basis. No two cases are the same.

It is unsurprising that there are so many myths and misconceptions surrounding family law, particularly as family law is so complex in the UK. To understand the details and rights you have in the eyes of the law, a family law solicitor can provide you with the right advice and guidance. 

Shared arrangements for children 

When considering the arrangements for children after a divorce or separation, many parents are led to believe it will be a simple 50/50 split of time between the care of the mother and the father.

Although it is best to make decisions like this outside of the courts and within mediation, if a court must decide they will take into consideration some important factors. These considerations will be focused on the well-being of the child or children, and include:

  • How old the child or children are
  • The child’s needs
  • The logistics of daily life for the child
  • Where both parents reside in relation to each other
  • Where and how often the parents work
  • Any family support either parent has available to them

Courts favour women 

A common misconception many people I heard discussing is the idea that family courts will always favour women in separation/divorces cases. Men often believe that going through the family court will mean they will have the law against them. The final decision in family court when it comes to settlements of divorce or separation must be carefully considered under various conditions. Each case will be reviewed individually. 

  • The financial status of both parties 
  • The court will also consider if each individual is able to earn sufficient income to fulfil their needs alone. 
  • The age and health of the spouses are also considered before the final decision is made.

Everything is split evenly 

A key element of family law which will be important to both parties is the settlement of allocation of property and personal assets. These will often be assets of high value which can lead to disputes. A common misconception concerning property and assets is that the split will be an even 50/50 split.

While this may be a simple solution, this is not always the end result. The division of your property and assets will depend on several factors including, the financial contributions of each party towards the property, who contributed to the end of your marriage or who made the contributions to keep the marriage together, and who made non-financial contributions to your marriage such as working as a homemaker and taking care of the family.

The family law court will aim to make this a fair split of your property and assets by leaving both parties at an equal standing irrespective of their position as a breadwinner or homemaker. 

Mediation is a waste of time 

Mediation is a structured and formal process of discussions which is used to help resolve conflict through communication and negotiation. 

A misconception many people have is that mediation is a waste of time as they have already agreed to separate with their spouse or partner. Mediation is not a process which aims for reconciliation if your relationship is beyond this point.

Instead, it can be used to help resolve disputes and find a solution for financial issues and concerns about children before proceeding with the court process. Often this is a less stressful situation and will be both cost-effective and time saving.