There are many urban myths when it comes to separation and divorce.

Julie-Ann Harris, Partner and Head of Family at Coffin Mew, offers some clarification on the most common misconceptions: There is no such thing as a ‘quickie divorce’:

When journalists report on celebrity ‘quickie divorces’, they are referring to the pronouncement of the decree nisi which is the mid-point of divorce proceedings.

Currently, it’s anything but quick and the average divorce, from start to finish (ignoring finances for now) takes six months.

There is no ‘meal ticket for life’: Whilst a husband or wife could expect maintenance for life post divorce after a long or high value marriage, especially if they have invested their time raising children with no paid employment for years, the courts now expect divorcees to seek independence at the earliest stage and find suitable paid employment to support themselves.

It is possible to have a ‘no fault’ divorce: But it takes time. Currently a ‘no fault’ divorce takes two years if both parties agree and five years if they do not.

Whilst the law is now under review and hopefully soon to be updated, many divorces are still fault based on either behaviour or adultery.

Court is the last resort: Most divorces are amicable with both parties in agreement as to who gets what but some are not and end up in court.

There are other options such as mediation and collaboration which are much more constructive and better for the family in the long term.

Communication is key: Whether that’s communication over contact arrangements for the children or trying to reach a constructive and amicable settlement for finances, keep an open mind as much as possible as your children will thank you for it in the future.

For more information and legal advice, CLICK HERE or contact the author Julie-Ann Harris, Partner and Head of Family, at law firm Coffin Mew on 023 8048 3754 or via