When it comes to divorce, far too many common beliefs are accepted as truths even though reality is much different. It’s common for divorce attorneys to have to correct incorrect perceptions that clients have about the divorce process in their initial meeting.
Always keep in mind that the process of dissolving a marriage is incredibly complex and every divorce case is unique. Complicating matters further is the fact that laws vary from one jurisdiction to the next and are constantly changing.
Here are some of the most common mistaken beliefs and why they aren’t necessarily true.
Mom always gets custody
It is generally true that dads have an uphill battle when it comes to custody battles thanks to the outdated gender stereotypes that are still prevalent in family courts.
However, by the letter of the law the judge is required to look at what is in the child’s best interest. Traditionally, mothers have taken on more of the child-rearing roles such as putting the child to bed, cooking meals, taking the child to doctor visits, etc. That might be all the justification a judge needs to grant custody to her.
However, gender roles are changing. If you are able to lay out a strong case showing why your child would be better off in your care then you should have at least a decent chance of being awarded custody.
I had the job so I get the retirement money
Even if you were the one with the job earning the money that has gone into your retirement account, your wife is likely to come out with half of that when the final settlement is issued. In the eyes of the court, you two have been working as a couple and she has a right to the money in the retirement account even though you were the breadwinner.
I don’t need a lawyer
This is one of the most common misconceptions that often ends up being the most costly.
Even if you are on good enough terms with your wife going into the divorce, there is no guarantee you’re going to remain amicable as the process progresses. Divorce courts have a way of breeding conflict, and you need to make sure you have an attorney in your corner who is going to ensure your rights are protected and your perspective represented.
Plus, as previously mentioned, ending a marriage is complex and you need someone who understands how the process works to make sure you dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s.
Only women get alimony
Historically, women have been awarded spousal support more often than men because they’re the ones who have traditionally sacrificed careers to stay home and raise the kids.
But with more women entering the workplace, and the number of stay-at-home dads also on the rise, it’s becoming more commonplace for men to receive some form of spousal support.
This is just a small sample of some of the more common mistaken beliefs about divorce. If you have any confusion or questions about divorce, you should consult with a licensed family law attorney in your jurisdiction.