Divorce can be a difficult process, and the many myths surrounding it certainly do not help. Getting a clearer picture of what to expect can help you move forward and make informed choices.
If you are considering filing for divorce, you may get all kinds of advice from well-meaning friends and relatives. Keep in mind that much of it is based on misconceptions or may not apply in your case. A qualified attorney is the best resource for getting the facts straight.
Divorce means war
The decision to divorce does not have to mean a prolonged vicious court battle. Many divorcing couples reach agreements on at least some issues by using dispute resolution methods such as mediation. Experienced mediators may be able to facilitate communication and compromise even when negative emotions are running high. Especially if children are involved, prioritizing cooperation and civility can help couples handle their issues in a way that decreases tension and negative fallout.
Mothers get custody
Today, courts increasingly acknowledge that both parents play an important role in raising children. Rather than automatically assuming the children are better off with the mother, the court weighs a number factors to determine what custody arrangement would best serve the children's interests. Generally, the tendency is to encourage joint custody.
Unpaid child support is a reason to cut off visitation
Child support and visitation can both give rise to serious disagreements. It is important to understand that one is not contingent on the other. Thus, a parent may not deny visitation due to support non-payment. By the same token, courts may obligate a parent to pay support while denying visitation rights if they deem a parent is dangerous to the children's welfare. If the visitation schedule or support amounts pose problems for either of you, it is important to go through proper channels and request a modification from the court.
Fault in the divorce means losing custody
In some cases, courts take fault into account when determining alimony. However, child custody and support are separate issues, where courts look only at the parents' conduct insofar as it affects the children's interests.