Three Common Divorce Myths Debunked

Three Common Divorce Myths DebunkedDivorce is already challenging enough without the confusion caused by inaccurate information. There are many beliefs and perceptions out there about the divorce process that simply aren’t true and may cause people to have unrealistic expectations about their divorce. We’ve addressed three of the most common divorce myths in this blog to set the record straight.

Myth #1: My spouse cheated on me and will be made to pay in court.

Because Oregon is a no-fault divorce state, the courts are not concerned with the reason why the marriage ended – including infidelity. Unless you specifically made arrangements for this contingency in a prenuptial agreement, the judge will give no preference to one spouse or another over accusations of cheating (whether they are true or not) when it comes to things like property division, child custody, and other aspects of your divorce.

Myth #2: Mothers always get custody of the children.

While custody has historically been granted to mothers more often than fathers, times have changed and the courts now base their custody decisions on what is in the best interests of the child. Mothers and fathers are presumed to have equal rights to custody. When deciding which parent should be awarded primary custody, the courts consider criteria including:

  • Each parent’s living and employment situation
  • Their relationship with the child
  • Their willingness to cooperate with the other parent
  • Any history of neglect, abuse, or substance abuse problems
  • And other relevant factors

If the judge determines that the father is the more suitable parent based on this evaluation, then the father will likely be granted custody.

Myth #3: My spouse won’t have any claim over assets listed in my name.

In general, when it comes to property division in Oregon, property owned by a spouse before a marriage is considered separate property, while property obtained after a marriage using joint funds is considered joint property. However, just because your name is the only name on a title does not mean that the asset is solely yours. Regardless of which spouse’s name is on the title (such as for a house or vehicle), if the property was ever paid for with marital funds, it will be subject to division at divorce. For example, if you owned a house before you and your spouse got married, but used joint funds to maintain it and pay property taxes throughout the duration of the marriage, the value of the house will be subject to division.

If you have further questions, we encourage you to contact McKinley Irvin to consult with a top-rated Portland divorce attorney for a case evaluation. Our office can be reached at ( 503) 395-0244.