Jane-Ashley McMillan, Attorney at Law

Seven of the most common myths about divorce

Ending a marriage is often a difficult decision. You pledged to stay with your partner forever, and now you can hardly stand to be in the same room together. It may be in your best interests to walk away, but you wonder what that will mean for your life after the divorce. There are so many awful divorce stories, and you do not want to become the crazy ex-spouse or the broke former partner.

Divorce can dramatic, but you do not have wind up like a character in a movie. You can get through the process with your dignity and checkbook mostly intact. Here are seven divorce myths that may hold you back from moving forward with your new life.

Getting a divorce means you failed

Getting divorced can make you feel a sense of shame. You may feel like if you had acted differently, the marriage could have been saved. Even if you do not feel you could have prevented the split, you might still be embarrassed.

According to the American Psychological Association, about 40-50 percent of marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. That means you are certainly not alone. It is possible you did everything right, but you and your partner grew apart. Do not keep blaming yourself and let some of your friends and family know about your divorce. You are going to need a support network while you go through this difficult time.

Your former partner can contact you whenever and wherever

Going through a divorce is a complex process. Your former spouse may have questions regarding dividing assets or concerns about the children. Maybe they text or email you in the middle of the day. Receiving a text message from your former partner during the workday can be upsetting, especially if he or she is bringing up difficult issues.

To protect yourself, you may want to set some boundaries. Tell your former partner not to email you at work or not to contact you during the day. If you have hired an attorney, you may consider telling your ex to contact your lawyer with questions about the divorce.

Having an affair means you lose the house

In Texas, you can file for a no-fault divorce. That means you can get divorced without proving any wrongdoing on the part of either party. This is the most common kind of divorce. Having an affair does not mean you will be punished financially. Generally, adultery does not factor into asset division, unless someone cheated and then spent a large amount of the marital assets on the affair.

Moms always get custody of the kids

In the past, mothers were favored in custody proceedings. Since parenting has become more of a shared responsibility, that is no longer the case. Fathers and mothers are viewed equally in the judicial system, and the decision for custody is based on what is best for the kids.

If you don’t pay child support, you lose the right to visit your kids

If a court has ruled that a parent must pay child support, that parent is obligated to pay the support. However, non-payment does not mean you lose access to your children. There are other processes the court will use to pursue payment for child support.

All property will be divided equally

In Texas, marital property is viewed as community property. It is up the court to divide the shared property how it deems fair. There are certain types of assets that are not viewed as community property, and these will not be included in the division process. Assets that were owned prior to the marriage or family heirlooms may be excluded from community property.

Most divorcing couples end up in court

Many divorces are settled out of court. This will save time, heartache and money. Only complex divorces where the former couples cannot agree usually end up in court. You could pursue a collaborative law divorce. This process allows you and your former partner to meet with your attorneys and discuss the details of the divorce outside of court. A collaborative law approach emphasizes compromise, keeps the process less adversarial and it can often be settled in four or five meetings.

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