Ending a marriage can be a traumatic experience even for Minnesota couples who have been estranged for years, and divorcing spouses sometimes turn to family members or close personal friends for advice or comfort during these difficult times. While these individuals generally mean well, they may not possess the experience or knowledge needed to give sound financial or legal advice. Misconceptions are common in divorce cases, and people often make disastrous decisions because they believe things to be true that are not.
Many divorcing parents believe that child support is calculated using state guidelines that must be strictly adhered to, but family law judges may ignore these rules if they wish to. Judges may deviate from established guidelines when adherence to them could lead to inequitable outcomes. Another common misconception in divorce cases is the belief that no-fault laws render misconduct unimportant. While these laws may allow couples who are unable to establish misconduct to divorce, they do not prevent evidence of adultery, abuse or neglect being admitted during spousal support or child custody hearings.
Discussions over real estate often play a central role in property division negotiations, and spouses may agree to cede their rights to property in return for other assets or more generous alimony payments, but banks are unlikely to pay much attention to these arrangements when mortgages fall into arrears. This can lead to people being pursued for payment of debts that they believed were no longer their responsibility.
Experienced family law attorneys may help their clients to avoid bitter disputes and make the end of a marriage less stressful by explaining common misconceptions and misunderstandings. They could also insist that all outstanding loans or mortgages are paid or an indemnity agreement is signed before their clients cede their rights to any secured assets.