Unfortunately, divorce is part of life for many Americans. But there are so many myths about divorce circulating that it can be hard to get to know what to expect. Here are five common misconceptions about divorce that deserve re-examination:
Myth #1: Divorce Lawyers Are All the Same.
Divorce lawyers vary quite a bit in their approach to divorce, as well as in their demeanor. Some may take more of an adversarial approach or specialize in contested divorces where there’s lots of disagreement about who gets what. Others may want to approach divorce in a more collaborative way, keeping the peace as much as possible. Make sure to find a lawyer who understands your case and who you feel confident in.
Myth #2: You’ll Have to Go to Court for a Divorce.
People often think of getting a divorce as the same thing as filing a lawsuit. But going through alternate channels such as arbitration or mediation can make getting a divorce less like a lawsuit and more like a business transaction. If you and your ex agree about the terms of the divorce, it’s unlikely you’ll need to go to court.
Myth#3: Mom Automatically Gets the Kids.
First of all, children aren’t a factor in all divorces. At least 66 percent of divorced couples in the U.S. don’t have any children. But even if there are children involved, custody isn’t automatically awarded to the mother. Part of the reason that women end up being named the custodial parent in 80% of cases is that often both people agree that it’s the best option.
Myth #4: All Women Will Be Eligible for Alimony
In reality, relatively few women are eligible for alimony payments. Alimony is generally only appropriate when one spouse (normally, although not always, the woman) has contributed to the marriage primarily through childrearing and therefore has been out of the workforce for many years. If both parties have been recently employed, often no alimony will be paid.
Myth #5: All Divorces Are Drawn-Out and Expensive.
A divorce doesn’t have to be long and financially devastating. Especially if you have prepaid legal insurance that gives you access to an attorney network when you need it, it’s very likely you’ll be able to handle things without undue expense.