Divorce Myths and Misconceptions

Divorce Myths and Misconceptions

If you have never gone through a divorce before, and make the announcement to your family and friends, you will notice that all of a sudden everyone has a story or an opinion regarding your divorce process. Many will offer you advice from the goodness of their hearts in an attempt to help you through this challenging time. However, in most cases, these bits of advice are from people who were in a completely different situation than you under completely different circumstances. Additionally, much of the advice will rest upon ill-founded myths and misconceptions that were only part of the divorce landscape decades ago and have nothing to do with the way divorces are currently handled in the United States. The following are some common divorce myths and misconceptions that you would do well to steer clear of during your divorce.

Mothers Always Win Custody

In some cases, fathers are told to simply give up the expectation that they will have a great deal of time with their children following a divorce. Many men believe that mothers always win either primary or full custody of children. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Societal roles from decades ago were quite different, and in those times, mothers often stayed home to rear children and did not have full-time jobs. However, the landscape is much different today than it was in the past, and many women now have full-time jobs and do not adhere to prior models of traditional family roles. In fact, many family courts now look to make decisions of divorce between same-sex marriages in which there are two mothers, or no female figure at all.

In all of these cases, old stereotypical myths that are the mother will always win custody simply do not hold true. In fact, in most cases, the court will look to the totality of the circumstances to make a decision regarding child custody that is always in the “best interest of the child”. Also, in most cases, courts attempt to give joint custody to both parents for all children.

Men Never Receive Spousal Support

As previously mentioned, the traditional roles between spouses in a marriage have changed drastically from that of previous decades. Therefore, the court's decisions regarding spousal support have changed, just as they have changed their views on child custody matters. In the past, only women would receive spousal support as they did not have any source of income outside of the marital home. However, many men now stay at home to rear children and do not have traditional jobs. In fact, many women are the proverbial breadwinners today. Therefore, there are many circumstances under which a wife will have to pay spousal support per a court order.

All Property and Debt is Split Between Spouses 50/50

Most courts now look to equitably divide all assets and debts that are considered marital property. This rarely is an exact 50/50 split. Rather both parties can come together to make determinations regarding which debts and what assets they want to keep. For example, if there is one spouse who makes considerably more money than the other, he or she may want to keep a lot of the marital assets, and that will mean incurring more of the marital debt if agreed to by both parties. Again, the court is more interested in an equitable division of property rather than an exactly equal split.

Child Custody and Child Support are Connected

If one parent does not pay child support payments according to the court order, the custodial parent has no legal right to keep that parent away from their child for visitation purposes. If one parent is frustrated that the other parent is not making appropriate child support payments, they can take this information to the court, and the court will render a decision which may include wage garnishment. However, no parent should be denied visitation with a child simply because they cannot afford to make their child support payments.

Divorce Lawyers are Not Required

While it is true that a divorce lawyer is not required by law, you may lose a great deal of your legal rights to both your finances and regarding child custody if you do not seek the advice and representation of an attorney. Learn how an experienced family law attorney at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Mooresville, North Carolina can help you with your divorce case. Contact us by phone or online today for your free consultation, and to learn how we can ensure your legal rights remain protected during the divorce process.