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Vines Legal Limited

Matrimonial & Family Law Specialists

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People behaving badly!

People behaving badly - Not what you might think when it comes to the financial nitty-gritty of a divorce or separation!

When discussing how a judge or the law in general will view an individual's behaviour during their marriage, we have all heard comments such as: "She's the one who moved out, she won't have a leg to stand on in court" and "He was seeing someone else, the judge will definitely be on my side".

Many myths abound as to what constitutes conduct to be taken into account when the financial details are being hammered out, and you will hear people speak with utter conviction about how someone will come out of their divorce proceedings with either nothing or everything, but the reality is very far from the common perception.

What you may well perceive to be behaviour which a judge would take into account is often far from relevant. The fact is that a for a judge to consider someone's conduct, it is necessary for that conduct to be so grave that it would be otherwise unfair to ignore it.

Whilst it is quite common knowledge that the two main legal grounds for divorce are unreasonable behaviour and adultery, neither of these two is relevant in themselves when a financial settlement is being finalised.

We have experience of one individual who, whilst receiving the monthly amounts from his wife to pay for the mortgage on the marital home, did not actually pay the mortgage with this money. The ultimate result of this was that the house was repossessed. Despite such conduct, the judge dismissed this as irrelevant when settling the finances of the case between them.

By contrast, one party to a divorce deliberately flooded the upstairs of the family home, causing thousands of pounds' worth of damage, and this was considered relevant. In another case, one party gambled the majority of the couple's money and assets away, a factor which was also taken into account.

It can be seen from the examples above though, that there is no actual definition of "conduct" for the purposes of financial settlements following a divorce or separation.

Take advantage of our 30-minute free consultation to meet us and get an overview of your options, don't rely on hearsay or other people's experience of divorce.

By Claire Clark on 16 Jan 2013, 15:53 PM

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