Changing Relationships and Dealing with Divorce

Changing Relationships and Dealing with Divorce
29 Jun 2017


By Emma Hamilton Cole

According to recent statistics, there has been a significant decrease in divorce rates over the last few years. Divorces were down 9.1% in 2015 compared to 2014. Whilst this is good news for some couples, it may simply be representative of a shifting trend in family and relationship structures.

Shifting Relationship Trends

Part of the reason for the decline in divorce rates is largely thought to be because more couples are deciding to live together but not get married. Cohabiting relationships have increased by over 30% in the last decade and now represent nearly 10% of the population. They are, however, twice as likely to breakdown than a marriage meaning there are fewer divorces down the line.

Uncertainty Over Finances

The fall in divorce rates may also be because more families are struggling financially and delaying separating because of uncertainty over the division of finances. The circumstances for each individual case will be different and different factors will decide how finances are divided in each individual case. The common misconception is that on divorce everything is split fifty-fifty but this is rare in my experience. Factors including individual parties’ needs, child care, business interests and length of the relationship, will all be taken into account. A complex process, it is important to take professional advice. Experts in family law, we can guide you as to what you are entitled to expect and how matters should be approached.

Cohabiting Relationships

On the other hand, if you are in one of the increasing numbers of cohabiting partnerships, different rules apply to how financial matters are dealt with. Another widely held misunderstanding is that if you have lived together for a certain number of years, you will have similar rights to those of a married couple.  Unfortunately, that is not the case, but if a relationship does break down you will have some rights.

For example, if there is property in the sole name of one party, the other party may still have claims if promises and contributions have been made. Also, if children are involved, there is the possibility of making a claim under the Children Act for capital provision for the children.

Seeking Advice

In either situation, should your relationship break down, we can provide firm advice. Your first step should be to make an appointment to come see us to discuss your situation. We can then discuss further steps from mediation to negotiation and solicitor collaboration. We can then help you to achieve the best possible outcome. Please contact us on 01202 484242 or email