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At the time of year when marital meltdowns are at their peak, The Mail on Sunday asked the country’s most senior divorce lawyers for their advice.
Charlotte Bradley, Partner and Head of Family at Kingsley Napley, answered a question on women's rights on divorce.
What are my rights?
If a couple is married, the law is there to protect the financially weaker spouse and any children. The law strives to ensure that all members of the family are housed and have sufficient income to live on (which might mean spousal maintenance being paid). In considering a fair financial settlement, all the assets, income and other resources will need to be disclosed as the settlement will be based on the principle of equality with regard to the couple’s and children’s needs.
The law for unmarried couples is not as clear cut. Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a ‘common law’ marriage. A cohabitant’s claims are limited to support for children, or if the couple held or invested in property together. If there are children, child maintenance will be paid and, if the other parent is wealthy, such maintenance may be substantial and cover the mother’s own needs. The mother/carer may also have housing claims on behalf of the children. Women often stay in bad relationships as they are worried about their rights if the relationship ends. However, they should feel reassured that England and Wales are two of the fairest countries in the world for wives and mothers upon relationship breakdown.
The full Mail on Sunday article can be found HERE.
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