If you have found yourself googling “divorce lawyer near me”, this message is for you: clarity is power – understanding what actually applies in your unique situation will help you make decisions in your own best interest.
That being said, it’s time for us to bust some of the misconceptions around the divorce process by setting straight why they may not always be true. Let’s arm ourselves with knowledge so we can make sure our decisions align with what’s actually best for us – not just some outdated, incomplete, or false piece of information your mom, your friend, or your Google search told you.
Here are 10 myths that can cause people to make choices that aren’t in their best interest.
Myth #1: Hire an attorney before you do anything else.
While consulting a lawyer is important to make sure you’re on track with the legalities surrounding the divorce proceedings, mediation or counseling can also be helpful in reaching an amicable agreement between both parties.
Myth #2: You have to serve your spouse with divorce papers and it’s best if you beat them to the punch.
Don’t get yourself caught up in the myth of thinking that all divorces start with “you’ve been served.” That can lead to a battle from the beginning of the process and result in an entirely different outcome than working cooperatively to end your marriage.
There might be reasons to file first and have your spouse served, especially if there’s abuse, addiction, or an extreme imbalance of power in the relationship. There isn’t a tactical benefit in these cases, but it might pave the way for other protections. Now, just serving divorce papers to your spouse sends a shot across the bow that says “we are not doing this peacefully or collaboratively.”
Allow space, realize what you’re actually dealing with, and concentrate on making decisions based on good information with a long-term view.
And remember, when you can work together to figure out the least damaging and expensive approach for your family, who files is likely incidental.
Myth #3: Divorce is always a battle and involves a lot of fighting.
Divorces are not always contentious and full of anger or rage. Often the couples I work with through their divorce are sad, worried, and rightly concerned about facing the end of their marriage; they are not ready to wage war. In fact, that is one of their greatest concerns. They would prefer to come to a solution they can both live with, without spending their retirement savings or hating each other so they can move on with their lives.
While it’s true some may involve high levels of conflict, many couples are able to come to a mutual agreement and divorce amicably – especially if they know that it is an option from the beginning.
Myth #4: We can choose to pay child support and the amount.
Parents do not get to choose what they will pay and whether they will pay child support.
In reality, the court system wants to protect the children and make sure they don’t suffer unduly when parents are angry with each other. Look at it this way — did the kids do anything wrong? Should they have a lower standard of living half of the time because their dad did something that made their mom angry?
While who did what to whom can play a big role in how a divorce moves forward, it isn’t usually part of the child support story. Keeping the children fed, housed, and clothed is the priority.
Myth #5: You have to have a reason (grounds) and someone needs to take the blame.
One party is not always at fault – many divorces occur due to emotional, mental, or communication issues that both partners are struggling with.
Now, the practice of divorce might vary greatly depending on where you live because each state, and sometimes even county, has its own family law process, so I’m going to caveat this with a BIG, GIANT check on your jurisdiction. Know what rules apply to you.
Myth #6: Wives always get alimony, husbands don’t.
Alimony is determined on a state-by-state, in some states, case-by-case basis and either spouse may be entitled to receive alimony depending on the circumstances of their marriage, their divorce, and the support laws where they are getting divorced.
Courts will not care about gender. They’ll look closely at factors such as how long the marriage lasted, each party’s income, contributions to the household by either spouse, or any relevant state laws.
Myth #7: It’s illegal to date during divorce.
It isn’t illegal, though it may seem inappropriate to some people and could complicate things when discussing custody arrangements and financial settlements. Especially if you’re in a contested or “at-fault” divorce, it may not be a wise decision.
Myth #8: You can’t control what you spend to get the divorce, the amount you pay is dictated by the lawyers and courts involved.
While the decisions made by legal professionals may play an important role in determining how much money a person or couple ends up spending, there are still many things that you can do to manage your expenses during this process.
For example, couples can agree on certain terms of the divorce without involving lawyers or courts, which can help keep costs lower. A good divorce coach can help you make sure you select the right professionals so when it’s time to involve professionals you can better control your spending during a time that can already be financially challenging.
Myth #9: Divorce is always a financial disaster for both parties.
This really depends on a lot of factors like each person’s assets and debts, their earning potential, how well they’re able to negotiate a fair settlement, AND how quickly and efficiently they can come to an agreement without adding up a mountain of fees from attorneys and other professionals. But with the right help, people can make it through a divorce without devastating financial strain.
Myth #10: Once it’s over, you’re done. There doesn’t need to be any more connection of any kind.
Although it is true that divorce often marks the end of a relationship, this does not mean that spouses will not have any further contact with one another. In some cases, there may still be practical matters such as alimony payments or adjustments, filing taxes or fixing old returns, and paying out future assets such as retirement pensions or stock options.
Additionally, parties may need to come together in the future to make important decisions related to their children’s welfare and well-being.
The myths have been debunked.
Yes, divorce is an unfortunate situation to experience but by arming ourselves with knowledge we can make more informed decisions and understand there are better outcomes for our cases. Understanding the facts and being aware of prevailing myths can help alleviate confusion and stress. It’s important to remember that each situation is unique and what works for one person may not work for another, and building the right team of professionals is essential in helping navigate any issues that arise.
Most importantly, take care of yourself throughout this process – it’s a tough journey, but keep in mind you’re worth investing your energy, money, and effort into making sure your needs are met as best they can be.
No clue how to sort out the myths from reality. We’re here. Call 844-306-0166, or book a spot on my calendar (no commitment, no retainer – just a free call).