Even though approximately 46 percent of marriages end in divorce in the United States, myths about divorce still prevail. Here’s the truth behind five common myths about divorce that you’ve probably taken as fact. Believing these untruths can cost you time and money if you’re going through this painful process.
1. Visitation can be denied to a spouse who doesn’t pay child support
When it comes to the law, visitation and child support are two separate issues. It is in the best interest of both parents to abide by the visitation schedule agreed upon in court even if one parent is behind on child support. Withholding custody until support is paid is illegal and should be eschewed in favor of legal channels to enforce child support payments.
2. If you are unfaithful during the marriage, you lose everything
Regardless of how and why the marriage ended, an affair on behalf of either party does not impact the distribution of marital assets. While laws about property division vary from state to state, infidelity and other transgressions are not taken into account when the court decides how to allocate assets and debts. The exception is a legal term called “wasteful dissipation of marital assets,” which basically means that one spouse spent a lot of money on the affair. However, this ruling is relatively rare.
3. Second marriages are more likely to last
In fact, the rate of divorce is much higher among second marriages, with experts estimating 67% to 80%, and even higher for third marriages and beyond. Since the 46 percent divorce rate stated earlier includes these subsequent marriages, the divorce rate is actually much lower among those who have married only once.
4. Children can choose who they want to live with
Child custody is often one of the most contentious points of divorce. In deciding this issue, judges use what is known as the best interest determination, which takes many factors into account to determine what living situation is best for the child. For older children, these factors do include their opinion, but it’s far from the bottom line.
5. Divorce is always costly
In general, the more contentious the divorce, the higher your divorce attorney fees will be. However, many family law attorneys now specialize in mediation and collaborative law, which strive to help couples come to an agreement without going through the court system.
If you’re considering divorce, make sure you familiarize yourself with the facts behind common misconceptions.