In our last post, we discussed some prevalent myths about divorce that could potentially have a big impact if you are thinking about ending your marriage. If you buy in to some of these myths, you could make decisions or take actions that jeopardize valuable rights you have concerning property division, child custody, spousal support and more.
We’ll continue our discussion of divorce-related myths in this post.
Myth #3: Adultery plays a role in a divorce
Fact: It depends. With the advent of no-fault divorce, and the passage of laws in nearly every state allowing couples to divorce for the simple reason of irreconcilable differences, no reason is necessary for a divorce filing in these states other than a breakdown of the marital relationship. You no longer have to claim adultery, abuse, abandonment, cruelty, etc. to seek a divorce, and the presence of one of these doesn’t mean that a divorce is more or less likely.
Adultery (or other traditional “grounds” for divorce) are no longer generally determinative of whether a divorce will be granted, but they could be a factor in some of the decisions involved in divorce, though. For example, if one spouse has committed adultery, it may be more likely that the other spouse will be awarded spousal support/alimony. Adultery might, along with other factors, also play a role in child custody decisions if the adultery was precipitated by some form of abuse, neglect or abandonment of the children or if it seriously impacted the relationship between parent and child. This is because custody decisions are based on the total circumstances of the family, and what is in the best interests of the children.
Myth #4: Divorce must occur in the state where you got married
Fact: People get married in different and exotic places every day. It wouldn’t be feasible for divorces to only be granted in the place where the marriage occurred. So long as you can satisfy the residency requirements of the state where you wish to file for divorce, you can seek a divorce wherever you wish.
Myth #5: Divorce has to be contentious
Fact: No! While it is true that some couples have the proverbial “knock-down, drag-out” kind of divorce that goes back and forth before a judge for years, it is certainly possible to dissolve your marriage amicably. In fact, such non-adversarial methods as mediation and collaborative divorce are even required in some states before a divorce can proceed to trial. The majority of cases don’t involve going to court to have a judge decide the terms of your divorce; most couples are able to, even if their emotions are running high, put aside their differences long enough to make productive decisions and come to an agreement.
Don’t let yourself be dissuaded by myths and misinformation. If you are seriously considering divorce, contact an experienced family law attorney in your area today.