Are you considering a divorce? Debunking common divorce misconceptions

Divorce is an increasingly misunderstood and highly publicised topic, which can cause issues when couples do begin divorce proceedings.

Let’s take a moment to debunk some of the most common myths, to bring clarity and understanding to this complex process.

Quick divorce

The media often sensationalises celebrity ‘quickie divorces’, leading to the belief that divorces can be finalised in a matter of days or weeks.

The truth, however, is that the term ‘quickie divorce’ is a misnomer.

The divorce process takes a minimum of 20 weeks for a conditional order to be granted and a further six weeks and one day before the final order is granted.

Divorce always involves the court

Contrary to popular belief, not all divorces result in court battles.

Often the financial consequences of a divorce can be resolved through mediation, collaborative law, or simple negotiation between the parties and/or their solicitors.

If the parties can reach an agreement on all issues, including financial arrangements, a court appearance will not be necessary although whatever agreement is reached still needs to be approved by the court to be binding.

Having the court resolve matters is generally a last resort, used only when the parties are unable to reach an agreement, as going to court will prolong the process significantly and be costly.

A partner can prevent a divorce

Divorce cannot be contested by the other partner anymore, save for issues surrounding the correct jurisdiction.

With the introduction of ‘no-fault’ divorce laws in 2022, the ability to contest a divorce was taken away, so if a spouse makes a statement that the marriage has broken down, nothing further is required.

Common law marriage

Despite widespread belief in the concept, common law marriage is not legally recognised.

Unmarried couples do not automatically share the same legal rights as married couples, regardless of how long they’ve lived together.

For protection, cohabitating couples may need to create cohabitation agreements or legally formalise their relationship through marriage or civil partnership.

For help and advice with family and relationship matters, please get in touch with Alison Green, Head of our Family and Relationship Team at Mackrell.Solicitors on +44 (0) 20 7240 0521 or at

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Alison Green
Alison has more than 25 years’ experience assisting clients with Family and Relationship matters. Her expertise covers matrimonial work, including divorce and the associated financial and children issues; pre and post-nuptial agreements; co-habitation disputes; civil partnership agreements and the breakdown of civil partnerships.