Going through a relationship or marriage breakdown
Whether you have been cohabitating, in a civil partnership or married for many years, if your relationship
breaks down, it can be an extremely difficult time. However, as well as taking care to cope with the emotional
distress, it is also a time to give your future – and your rights – some serious consideration.
A difficult time
The difficult decision to end a marriage or relationship cannot be taken lightly. It can be tremendously
upsetting, a complete shock to both partners and a time of great anguish, yet statistics continue to show that one
in three first marriages ends in divorce, with two in three second marriages heading in the same direction.
During this difficult period, it is possible that you may have to go through a legal process as well as seeking
advice and support in dealing with the breakdown of your relationship. Regardless of how civil both parties would
like to remain, many relationship or marriage breakdowns are fraught with hostility and communication issues. For
many couples whose finances are tied, the end of a relationship also has many financial implications as well as
changes in living arrangements for children who may be involved in the process.
Ending a relationship or marriage is a time when you need to seek the full support of friends and family as well
as, where necessary, professionals such as divorce solicitors who will be able to provide you with the best advice. It can also be
valuable to seek the ear of a counsellor who can support your emotional health.
Whatever support you choose to seek first, when you go through a divorce, you will almost certainly need expert
legal advice from a family lawyer, so start looking online to find a good firm or practitioner and compare divorce costs. If you are married with children and are seeking a divorce then it is
likely that you will need advice on custody of the children and living arrangements.
If you are not married, it is still likely that you may have joint assets, e.g. you bought a house together and
both contribute towards monthly mortgage payments, so you will require advice on how to divide such assets.
Financial settlement rights
There is no formula to decide on every settlement, as the outcome will depend heavily on the circumstances of
your case. Your lawyer should be able to guide you through the factors that the court will recognise, for example,
the length of the relationship or marriage, the age of the parties and pension provisions among other factors.
On the whole, the court tends to give priority to the partner who is the main carer of the children of the
family, and that is often the mother. And it is often for this reason that men may seem to have fewer rights.