Embarking on a divorce can be a big decision. Before taking the decisive step of seeing an attorney, many people first discuss this issue with their friends and relatives.
While talking it out can give you much-needed emotional support at this stressful time, be wary of any legal-adjacent advice you get. Many people harbor erroneous conceptions about the divorce process, and taking them seriously can harm your case.
1. Courts will penalize the spouse at fault
It may be wishful thinking, but many people still believe fault can affect property division, alimony and parental rights. Unless the fault bears directly on these issues, it does not. Thus, a spouse who hides assets can face a penalty in the form of getting a lesser share of the marital estate; a spouse whose behavior endangers the children may face restrictions on parenting time. However, simply committing adultery will generally not affect any of these issues.
2. A quit-claim deed is enough
In many divorces, one spouse keeps the house and buys the other’s share out. Often, the spouse who stays thinks signing a quit-claim deed means completely washing one’s hands of the property. This is only true if there is no mortgage. Otherwise, while you have given up your interest in the house, you still appear on the mortgage as a debtor. You will need to refinance or have your ex formally assume your share to shed this liability.
3. Non-custodial parents get no input
When it comes to parenting time, one parent often ends up with a substantially greater share of physical custody, while the other parent sees the child for a shorter period of time. This does not automatically mean the parent with more time gets more say in decisions about the child’s life. The parent with less time still has the right to access records and to make certain decisions.
You probably have many questions about what your divorce will mean for you. It is important to get the answers from the right source, such as a knowledgeable attorney.