News has filtered through that Hollywood stars Demi Moore and Ashton Kuchar are to divorce, so ending their 6 year marriage. The split is announced amid rumours of Mr Kuchar's infidelity and comments attributed to Moore about sacred vows and values. Whilst it is unlikely that either will be financially prejudiced as a result of the split, Moore's reported comments will resonate with many separating couples.
In England, unless a couple has been separated for a period of at least 2 years, divorce proceedings can only be started if one spouse "blames" the other, either for their adultery or unreasonable behaviour. Despite attempts to introduce a culture of "no-fault" divorce, the law remains as it has done since 1973. Many divorce lawyers think this a shame as it often adds unnecessary levels of tension and emotion to a situation that is quite difficult enough for the families going through it.
Another consequence of the "fault" based divorce process is that it can extend the myth that the reasons for the breakdown of the marriage will in some way be recognised in any arguments over divorce settlements or how much time the children will spend with each parent. The reality is that only in very, very extreme circumstances will behaviour be a factor in determining these issues. The philosophy is, effectively, that there are two sides to very story and, simply, a court does not have the resources to investigate allegations. Still less is there a "tariff" system for penalising either spouse.
Decisions over divsion of financial assets and children remains the subject of fairness and what is in the best interests of the children. Where possible, couples should try to work together on these issues as it will save them time and money as well as providing a more stable platform for their children.
For more advice on divorce follow our family law blog or follow us on Twitter @Divorce_experts