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Divorce advice: the Baby and Johnny scenario

11 July, 2017

This is my dance space, this is your dance space. Are the rules different when a marriage is short-lived?

Turns out dirty dancing wasn’t enough. There was the social divide, the disapproval of her parents; he just wanted to dance, while she was keen to pursue her dream of entering the Peace Corps. The marriage was short-lived, there were no children and both moved on amicably. He had nothing, she had nothing (except family wealth) and both were happy to walk away.

Financial lesson: You don’t have to fight about anything. In short-lived marriages, defined by the courts as less than five years (sometimes including time you spent living together before marriage), you can both write it off as a mistake and choose to walk away with what you came in with. It is obviously more difficult to do this with a longer marriage, but it is still better – and far cheaper – to thrash out a settlement yourself than go backwards and forwards with lawyers. However, you can’t start divorce proceedings in the UK until you’ve been married more than a year. Before that, the formal option is to draw up a separation agreement.

Fact: A day in court can cost you about £2,000 in barrister fees. Depending on who you pick! Try and keep short-lived marriages out of the courts. Also, if you have joint bank accounts you should speak to your bank as soon as possible in case your ex goes nuts!

This is our last Divorce Advice scenario, for now. If you'd like clear, step-by-step information about preparing for and going through divorce with no silly stock photos in sight, have a look at our Distressed Divorcer (Di-lighted) ( tribe. There's a new Boring Money Guide to Divorce ( for the new year.