The Law offices of Arnold & Smith - John Price Carr House
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Five Myths About Divorce

Anyone who has not gone through a divorce is susceptible to believing the many myths and misconceptions surrounding the divorce process. The legal process of obtaining a divorce is certainly legally complex and often fraught with emotional struggles, and that can lead many to believing that their worst fears will come true. Friends and family members with good intentions may tell you horror stories about what happened to them, or friends of theirs, during the divorce process, but it is important to remember that no two divorces are ever the same. Learning what the five most popular myths are about the divorce process can help you to protect your legal rights and understand the divorce process better before you begin.

The Mother Always Gets Custody of the Children

Decades ago, the truth was that the mother typically gets full custody of the children or at least primary custody. However, times have completely changed, and family roles have changed, as well. In some cases, there are multiple divorces on both sides of a family tree or marriages between same-sex spouses. Our concept of marriage has changed, and as a result, so has our concept of divorce. More women are in the workforce now than ever before, whereas in the past most women stayed home to care for the home and family. It is no longer safe to assume that the mother will always get custody of the children. Today, most courts use the litmus test of “best interest of the child” to determine child custody matters.

Spousal Support Only Ever Goes to the Wife

Again, just as roles in marriages have changed, so have the traditions regarding divorce. While it may have been true long ago that only wives received spousal support, in many cases today, the wife is the primary breadwinner of a family. In that case, the other spouse may have the legal right to request spousal support during a divorce. As many fathers gladly take on the role of stay-at-home dad, there continues to be a rise in the number of spousal support awards that go to men.

Everything is Divided in Half

There is this myth that property is split down the middle in divorce — both assets and debts. This could not be further from the truth. Instead, most courts will attempt to have an equitable division of assets, rather than a complete 50/50 division. An equitable division of assets means that if one spouse does not have the means to pay debts, and both spouses agree, all of the debts and assets could be split 70/30, or in other ways to make the financial division more equitable between the spouses.

A Parent’s Rights to Child Visitation Rests on Ability to Pay Child Support

Child support and child custody and child visitation are completely separate issues under the law. If a noncustodial spouse does not pay his or her share of child support, there are ways to make them do so, including wage garnishment. However, the custodial parent does not have any legal right to withhold custody or visitation from a non-paying parent during that time. Additionally, this holds true if a parent withholds visitation, the noncustodial parent will still have to pay child support payments while the issue is resolved in a court.

You Can Handle Your Divorce Just as Well on Your Own

Many people think that you do not need a lawyer to get a divorce, and while that is legally true, you will lose the opportunity to ensure that your legal rights are protected with respect to your finances and your children. In most cases, spouses simply do not know what they do not know regarding divorce law, and therefore will likely make serious mistakes that can impact them permanently. While you may be reluctant to hire a divorce attorney because you do not want to make the divorce adversarial, know that a divorce attorney can represent you in mediation and be as amicable or compromising as you are comfortable with. An attorney is there simply to represent you and your wishes and ensure that you receive the best possible outcome in your divorce case with respect to the equitable division of property as well as child support calculations and child visitation matters.

How an Experienced Divorce Attorney can Help You

Contact our experienced family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Monroe, North Carolina at 704.370.2828 or online today for your free consultation. We can help you with your divorce and dispel any myths and misconceptions about the divorce process today.