When it comes to divorce, everyone has their own ideas about what happens and what it means for those involved. Some of these notions may be correct, others may not be. This leads to many divorce myths. We are here to set the record straight on some of the more common divorce myths and partial truths.
Spousal Support Is Only For Women
While this may have once been the case, it is no longer so cut and dry. Spousal support is meant to ensure that both members of the relationship are able to establish themselves in their new lives outside of the relationship in the case of a significant income disparity between the two parties. With more women rising through the ranks of the workforce, more men are opting to become stay at home dads. This means that spousal support can be awarded to either spouse depending on which one is at an economic disadvantage in the divorce.
Each Party Gets Half Of Everything
It is important to understand two key concepts to dispel this myth. First is the difference between an equal split and equitable division of assets. Second is the difference between marital assets and non-marital assets. These two things determine how much each party takes away from the marriage. Generally speaking, only marital assets are split between the parties. Non-marital assets tend to remain with the party who acquired them outside of the marriage. Distribution of assets must also be considered fair and equitable, meaning that if one spouse has greater means they may also be awarded more debt as they are more able to repay it.
The Mother Always Gets The Kids
Again, this may have once the case, but this is no longer true. There is no law making it automatic that the mother is awarded custody of the children. In instances where custody is contested, the court must determine what is in the best interest of the child. Many factors will go into determining who that is, but ultimately it is up to the discretion of the judge as to who represents the child’s best interests. It is true, however, that in a majority of cases, the judge determines that it is in the child’s best interest to remain with the mother.
If You Opt For Mediation, You Aren’t Allowed To Have Legal Counsel
This could not be further from the truth. In no way is participating in mediation a waiver of your right to legal counsel. In fact, there are many different ways that legal counsel is used throughout mediation. Some opt to have their lawyers review the divorce agreement only upon completing it and before signing. Others refer to counsel from the very start. Legal counsel has been used in these scenarios and indeed in every capacity in between. It is important to remember, however, that to ensure that you walk away from your divorce knowing you did the best you could for yourself that you speak with an attorney who can advise you on the best course of action.