No one goes into a relationship hoping to one day breakup, especially by way of divorce. They are messy, legal, clinical affairs that can rip apart families, sever emotional bonds, and leave some people incredibly vulnerable financially. But sometimes you think you know something others don’t, like a rumor that if your spouse cheated then you have a legal leg up. The truth is more complex and incredibly varied and misinformation about divorce won’t help your situation.
The most important thing to remember is that divorce laws, like many other laws, vary state-to-state.
What’s true in Rhode Island may not be true in Michigan. So it’s a problem when you rely on things you hear or read about divorce as it is not universally regulated or mandated. Laws are specific to their jurisdiction and language can be nuanced and things that you hear are never what they seem.
Below are some common myths about divorce, debunked.
At Fault Divorce
Many times, particularly in the case of a partner cheating, folks believe that one person is “at fault” for the divorce and, like the laws around car accidents, liable for damages. And, like car accident law, that’s not always true. If your state is a no-fault divorce state, then it does not matter what your spouse did, so long as they didn’t do anything illegal. Adultery or bad behavior does not automatically forfeit any property or right to fight for child custody.
Child Custody and Support
Men often go into divorce court believing they are at a disadvantage when it comes to custody thinking women are always awarded custody of the children. In virtually all causes, custody is decided by what is in the best interest of the child. Gender has nothing to do with this decision. Further, spousal support or child support is decided based on the means available to either spouse outside of the marriage and what one spouse will lose financially as a result of divorce. Since women statistically earn less than men in many professional fields, the burden can tend to fall on men to provide support.
Property and Debt
When you marry, you legally and financially become one entity in the eyes of the courts. It doesn’t matter whose name is on what bill. All property and, unfortunately, debt are divisible in divorce court. If your partner ran up the credit card bill or is paying for some bad investments, it’s a problem for both of you.
Do you need to file for divorce in the state you were married in?
Generally speaking, no. As long as you have proper and legal residency in a state, you can file for divorce there no matter where you got married. But, if you’ve been living in Michigan for a year with a Maine license and permanent mailing address, you’ll have to go back to Maine (or whatever that state may be) to file.
Can the child pick which parent they want to live with?
Children can voice a preference of parent but that is by no means the deciding factor. Most judges will take the child’s preference into consideration but weigh that preference again other facts such as employment, location, criminal record, finances, and other factors in determining where the child will best thrive.
The best way to tackle this is to talk to your divorce lawyer about your concerns when it comes to divorce and clear up any misinformation you may have.
Retaining an experienced Divorce and Family Law Firm to handle the end of your marriage is important. Years of experience means knowledge and expertise in all aspects of divorce and family law ensuring your questions will be answered and interests will be safeguarded.
The Law Offices of Rappleye & Rappleye has over 60 years’ experience and specializes in all matters of divorce and family law including child support, child custody, spousal support, parenting time and more. Furthermore, our family law firm will help you protect your most valued assets due to our vast knowledge of the state equitable distribution laws. Call us today for a consultation!