6 Divorce Myths Debunked
There are several misconceptions about divorce floating around, and all too often they’re passed as fact. Misinformation about divorce can alter how you approach important decisions in your own divorce process. Fortunately, you can make sure you know fact from fiction before you get too deep in the divorce process by getting your divorce information from reliable sources, such as legal organizations, state laws, and your divorce attorney.
If you’re in the midst of a divorce, make sure you have all the facts about the must-know divorce tips.
Read below to discover the truth behind some of the most common divorce myths:
Myth #1. Courts favor the mother in custody battles.
Although courts used to give preference to mothers in child custody battles, they now have a much greater understanding of the importance each parent plays in a child’s life. Nowadays, both parents, regardless of their gender, are considered for custodial rights. In most cases, the court favors joint custody, where both parents share responsibilities and time with their children. However, if custody is awarded to one parent over the other, the gender of that parent should play no part in that decision – only the best interests of the child, which is determined by the court through several factors.
Myth #2. If my ex stops paying child support, I don’t need to share parenting time.
You may think it makes sense to disregard your parenting plan if your spouse stops paying child support, but it is never a good idea to disregard any rules pertaining to child custody or visitation, even if your ex stops making payments. A parenting plan is a legal agreement and you don’t want to be in violation. Instead, if you find yourself dealing with overdue payments, contact your lawyer about the issue and plan a legal resolution. Don’t retaliate by withdrawing visitation rights or threatening to do so. If you do retaliate and violate your parenting plan, your ex-spouse could have legal recourse.
Myth #3. Women receive spousal support (alimony), not men.
If spousal support, or alimony, is awarded in a divorce, it is based primarily on income and need – the gender of the receiving spouse does not matter. For example, in a divorce, a stay-at-home-dad with no work experience would be as entitled to spousal support payments as a stay-at-home-mom would be.
Myth #4. All our assets will be split 50/50.
Equitable distribution means that all the shared property in the marriage will be split in a way that is fair and “equitable,” which does not necessarily mean equally divided. Splitting everything down the middle, though it may seem logical, is not always “fair,” which is why the court will consider several factors before divvying up marital property. One spouse may receive more assets than the other because he or she earned more, or brought more into the marriage, or because the other spouse squandered a large portion of their joint savings, etc. Essentially, the court will consider several factors before deciding how all assets can be divided in a way that is fair and reasonable.
Myth #5. A divorce has to go through the court.
Although all divorces must be finalized through the court, most divorces are settled outside of court rather than with a trial. In a trial, the judge decides all terms of your divorce based on evidence. By negotiating a settlement agreement outside of court, with each spouse represented by their own attorney, you can have more control over the process. Through negotiation, mediation, and other dispute resolution techniques, couples can choose to settle their differences without going to court. If you reach an agreement, your attorneys will submit it to the court for an approval. If granted, the court will then issue your divorce decree. Only if you cannot reach an agreement must your divorce be resolved through a trial.
Myth #6. I have to get divorced in the state I was married.
Despite what many people believe, you do not need to file for a divorce in the state you and your spouse were married. Instead, the protocol for divorce is for the couple to file in the state and county where they currently reside. This can get tricky if you’ve recently relocated, as most areas require that you are a resident of the county 6-12 months until you can file for divorce.
If you are about to begin the divorce process, make sure you know what to expect. Before you dive in, discuss your situation with an attorney and get the truth about what you can anticipate in your divorce.
Contact McKinley Irvin to discuss your biggest divorce questions with our knowledgeable attorneys.