The slogan for International Women's Day 2022 is #breakthebias.

Bias: inclination or prejudice for or against one person or group, especially in a way considered to be unfair.

As a co-chair of Brodies' Women's Network and a strong supporter of #girlpower, International Women's Day means a great deal to me. The day is an opportunity to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and those who identify as women.

Equality in separation, divorce or dissolution

Often, we find that one party is less financially astute than the other. Usually, one person in the relationship manages the finances, the other manages house and home. It makes sense. Divide and conquer the day to day tasks and life admin. But when it comes to separating, it can be difficult not knowing much about the finances. Knowing the financial circumstances of you and your other half gives you control. Whilst the starting point is that the matrimonial "pot" is divided fairly (usually meaning equally), there are special circumstances which can merit a diversion from a straight 50/50 split. Do you know what they are?

Knowledge is power – some common misconceptions:

1. If it's in my name, he has no right to it.

2. He cheated so I get more of the money.

3. I can take the children on holiday without him.

4. I'm a victim of domestic abuse.  I have to flee the home to get away from it.

5. He isn't entitled to my pension because only I contributed to it and it's in my name.

True or false? When clients say they've done their own research online, my heart sinks. Google with extreme caution. We may be close geographically, but family law differs significantly north and south of the border. Don't assume you know the answers to these questions because of what you've heard from a friend who separated last year, or because of what happened in a TV series. Every client and every family is different. Of course keeping costs down is important, but there's only one chance to agree a settlement deal so do it properly and seek legal advice. Cutting corners could turn out to be very costly later down the line.

Then -v- Now

Traditionally, the woman stayed at home, gave up (or never even started) a career, looked after the children and supported the husband. Nowadays, whilst still the case for some couples, for the rest, we're seeing things evolve. Families are no longer nuclear, same-sex relationships are being established and the more 'traditional' roles in the home are disappearing. Family solicitors are seeing a shift in who does what, who knows what, who's earned what and who's saved what. "Daddy Day Care" is no longer said tongue in cheek and Mum could very well be the family breadwinner.

At Brodies, we are committed to doing what we can to #breakthebias. Women and those who identify as women, should be equal to their counterparts in all ways, including in the family law sphere.

Top Tips for women in relationships (or otherwise):

- Keep an eye on your finances. Know what's going on and get involved.

- Don't sign anything without reading it in full and understanding it.

- If you find yourself in an abusive situation – emotionally, physically, financially - seek help. Doing so is a sign of strength, not weakness.

- If you go through a life change – buying a property, receiving a financial gift or inheritance, cohabiting, marrying or entering into a civil partnership, retiring – meet with a family solicitor, even just for a 'one off' appointment.

- Meeting with a solicitor will come at a cost, but the advice can be invaluable and save you significant bother (and fees!) at a later date.


Kate Bradbury