Correcting Divorce Misinformation
Getting divorced is difficult enough without dealing with misinformation. Here are some common divorce myths.
Myth 1: Mom Always Gets the Kids.
A generation ago women raised the children while dad worked, so it made sense for mom to have custody. Today, many women are working and men are caring for children, so custody can be shared.
Myth 2: Each Spouse Receives Half the Assets.
Equitable division of the marital estate means a fair split. A mother who takes care of children and hasn’t worked for years may get a larger share of assets.
Myth 3: Divorce Means You Failed.
You may feel like a failure, but no divorce is entirely one person’s fault. Not wanting to be married doesn’t mean you are bad. Personality differences beyond your control cause most divorces.
Myth 4: If We Share Custody There Will Be No Child Support.
Sometimes one spouse earns more, so the court or the couple may decide the higher earning person should pay the difference between guideline support for both salaries when they share custody.
Myth 5: We Never Married So We Don’t Need a Divorce.
If you lived together and told people you were married, you may have a common-law marriage. See an attorney to find out.
Myth 6: Woman Always Get Alimony.
In Texas, stay-at-home moms who have no work skills are generally awarded spousal support for a few years while they finish school or polish job skills. Sometimes, the husband may agree to pay contractual alimony if his spouse is disabled and can’t work.
Myth 7: You Must File for Divorce Where You Married.
You file for divorce where you live, not where you married. At least one spouse must reside for six months in Texas and live for ninety days in the county where the divorce is filed.
Myth 8: You Can Trade Assets for Lower Child Support.
Property division and child support are separate issues. Child support is usually awarded according to the children’s needs and the parties’ ability to pay. Texas has standard guidelines that are presumed to be in the child’s best interest.
Myth 9: Older Children Can Choose Where They Want to Live.
Children over twelve can state a preference. However, the final decision is made by the parents or a judge and doesn’t necessarily follow the child’s wishes.
Myth 10: My Spouse Can Stop Our Divorce.
With no-fault divorce, anyone who wants out of a marriage can leave. This doesn’t mean divorce is easy or inexpensive, but you can always end a marriage.
Myth 11: The Engagement Ring is Marital Property.
The engagement ring was a gift from the husband to his wife so it’s her separate property and she keeps it.
Myth 12: No-Fault Makes it Easy For Men to Divorce.
Seventy-five percent of Texas divorces are initiated by women because they are more financially independent and they expect more from a marriage. Men are not abandoning their wives.
Myth 13: Divorce Doesn’t Harm Children.
Children want their family to stay together. Their happiness comes from a home with two parents, a routine, friends and a good school. Litigated divorces harm children.
Myth 14: Having Children Preserves a Marriage.
There is no difference between the divorce rate of couples with and without children.
Myth 15: It’s OK To Deny Visitation If He’s Late Paying Child Support.
Visitation and child support are independent rights and duties and you can’t deny him access to your children because he is late paying child support.
Myth 16: The Wife Always Gets the House.
Sometimes it makes sense for mom to keep the family home so the children can stay in their school, see their friends and feel secure. However, moving may make financial sense.
Myth 17: Second Marriages Are More Successful.
A popular myth is that people learn from their mistakes so second marriages are more likely to last. In fact, second and third marriages have a higher failure rate than first marriages.
Myth 18: Living Together Makes Divorce Less Likely.
You may experience fewer surprises if you live with a person prior to marriage, but couples who live together before marriage have a higher divorce rate.
MYTH 19: Being Single Means You Have More Money.
Because you must divide family assets during divorce, it’s unlikely you will have more money after the divorce. Generally, both parties have less money to spend following a divorce.
MYTH 20: Divorce Can Be Inexpensive If You Agree on Everything.
Fighting costs extra, so couples can control the cost of their divorce to some extent. However, most couples have complex legal, financial and child issues that must be negotiated or litigated, so most divorce are expensive.