At this challenging time it can be difficult to have a clear picture of where you stand on a number of different issues, some of which can be very complex.
A common misconception is that men do not have the same rights as women when it comes to divorce proceedings, and that the woman will be looked upon more favourably by the court in determining other issues relating to the marriage breakdown.
The amount of legislation on divorce can be overwhelming, and the many details difficult to comprehend; so we’ve taken a look at a number of broad key areas and outlined men’s rights and responsibilities in relation to each of them.
The Stages of Divorce
In order to gain a firm grasp of different rights throughout the divorce proceedings, it is useful to look at the stages of divorce, which can be broken down into the following:
- The divorce itself – the process of actively bringing a marriage to an end, which is concluded by the decree absolute, the legal document that ends the marriage.
- Ancillary relief – the division of marital assets and finances between the spouses and discussion of any children, as well as the finalisation of the process.
- Proceedings relating to children – the stage where, for example, the custody of children and arrangements for contact are decided.
There are a number of areas within the second and third of these stages which relate specifically to men’s rights.
The right to continue living in your marital home is granted to both married partners and neither spouse can force the other to leave.
The circumstances surrounding the property are also irrelevant, i.e. whether both of you, or only one of you, rents or owns the property.
This right applies to both partners unless a court has decided otherwise.
When a marriage comes to an end and children are involved, it is the responsibility of both parents to offer financial support to those children.
Where the children will be living is irrelevant when it comes to deciding upon financial support for those dependants; support must be granted by both parents regardless of where the children will be based.
An individual can also apply for financial support from their partner whether they have children or not.
You can apply for financial support from your partner in numerous ways:
- A family-based agreement
- With help from the Child Maintenance Service (CMS)
- Through the courts
It is also important to note that in the majority of cases the reasons for the divorce are not taken into account when deciding the outcome of financial arrangements.
The needs of the parties involved will be assessed when it comes to issues such as a mortgage or house. If it is found that the needs of one partner and any children outweigh those of the other partner, the court will order that the home be transferred solely to the former.
The welfare of children following a divorce can be an emotional and stressful matter to consider.
Decisions involving children can be made jointly by the partners or with the assistance of a mediator. In the majority of cases, arrangements relating to children are made voluntarily, resulting in both partners being satisfied with the outcome.
A number of court orders can be applied for if it has been difficult for the partners to reach a joint decision either independently or with the help of a mediator:
- Child arrangements order – decides various matters, including where the child lives, how much time the child spends with each parent and the frequency and duration of other forms of contact, such as telephone calls.
- Specific issue order – deals with a specific question about the upbringing of the child, such as which school they should attend.
- Prohibited steps order – can be applied for to prevent the other parent from making decisions regarding the child’s upbringing.
Either parent or anyone with parental responsibility can apply for a court order.
Calculate how much child maintenance you or your ex partner need to paying using our Child Maintenance Calculator.
The false impression that women are looked upon more favourably than men in divorce proceedings can cause confusion for men seeking to ascertain and assert their rights throughout the divorce process.
A number of broad areas such as housing arrangements, financial agreements and children demonstrate the requirements for equal support and input from both spouses and the rights which men have during divorce proceedings.