Invited back just seven weeks since his last appearance on BBC Radio Leeds ‘Legal Monday’ programme with popular broadcaster Richard Stead, Norman Taylor, one of our family law specialists, debunked divorce myths around some commonly used phrases.
‘Irreconcilable differences’ was a terminology which listeners – and Richard Stead himself – were surprised to learn is not a legal term in Britain.
Although frequently used in the United States as a ground for divorce when ‘A couple cannot and never will agree on certain, fundamental issues’, it is not one of the 5 grounds for divorce in the UK which Norman explained were adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, two years apart, by agreement – and five years separation with no consent required.
Norman also explained that the widely used term common law wife or common law husband are not valid legal terms and do not give either party any legal rights or obligations should a couple separate.
Listeners called and texted questions on wide-ranging family law issues spanning tieing the knot abroad, the Child Maintenance Service, – and the rocketing rise in ‘sliver splitters’ – older divorcees.
A listener sought advice on the validity of marriages in countries abroad. Norman advised that generally speaking, if the marriage is legally recognised in the country that it was entered into in, then it will also be recognised in the UK. He cautioned that there may be exceptions so it is worth double checking in advance the county in which you wish to tie the knot.
The programme also outlined that there may also be other considerations to take into account – for example, France requires couples to be a resident in the country for a month before celebrating a legal wedding ceremony.
Phone in queries also included a listener questioning her son’s options as a divorced father if he disagrees with a decision reached by the Child Maintenance Service (formally the Child Support Agency). Norman explained that the Child Maintenance Service operates an appeals procedure for those in this situation.
The issue of rising divorces among the over 60s was also discussed. Norman explained to listeners the key considerations including property, age, length of marriage, whether this is a second marriage – as well as changes to the pension reform – for those contemplating divorce to take on board. A Jones Myers article on the Saga website on this issue outlines why people in this situation should look before they leap and offers some salutary advice on staying together – or parting well.
You can listen back to the programme until 24th May on BBC Radio Leeds if you missed it live.
If you have any comments, queries or concerns on any divorce related issue, leave a comment below, call the Jones Myers team on 0113 246 0055 or tweet us on @helpwithdivorce.