5 Common Divorce Myths Debunked

When it comes to divorce, you just can’t believe everything you hear. For example, you may have heard that 50% of all marriages end in divorce. It’s just not true. With more and more people waiting to get married and being picky, the divorce rate has been steadily dropping for years now. Here are 5 of the most common divorce myths we hear in our office and the truth about each one:

I Have To Get A Divorce To End The Marriage

There are other options besides a divorce which may be more appropriate in your situation. If you and your spouse are on relatively friendly terms, or there are complex assets or insurance issues that require you to be married in order to receive benefits, you may want to consider getting a separate maintenance arrangement. 

With separate maintenance, you remain technically married, but you can live apart and have separate lives. This is a good option for people who must remain married for legal reasons but wish to effectively live as if they are divorced.

The Courts Always Award Custody To The Mother

It’s true that the courts used to be biased towards the mother when it came to custody decisions. However, that’s not the case anymore. The primary factor in awarding custody today is what is in the best interest of the child — not the gender of the parent.

Today, fathers stand a much better chance of winning custody. The judge is going to base a visitation/custody decision on factors such as the child’s age, the relationship with the parents, the health of the child, any history of domestic violence in the house, and a host of other factors. Notice that the gender of the parent is not on that list.

Winning Means I Get More Than My Spouse

Not necessarily. Georgia does have fault divorce cases, where one person claims it is the other person’s fault that the marriage fell apart. But, proving something such as adultery can be difficult. There is a reason why the vast majority of divorce cases in Georgia are no-fault divorces.

In a no-fault divorce, the reason for the breakup is considered “irreconcilable differences” and no party is to blame. This means that the court does not consider fault when dividing the property. Georgia also splits assets according to equitable distribution rules, so it’s probably not going to be an even 50/50 split, to begin with. You may get “more” than your spouse, however, you also may get less depending on the overall value of the property. The court is aiming for a fair distribution. Don’t automatically expect to get more, unless you can definitively prove fault, and even then that may not be enough to sway the Judge’s ultimate decision. 

Also, remember anything, including bank accounts, acquired while married is marital property, even if your name is the only name on the account. Marital property is split equitably.

I Can Always Change The Property Division Later

Many people believe they can ask the judge to revisit the property decision later due to circumstances changing or, more often, because they don’t believe the original to be fair. Prepare yourself for disappointment. Unless there is fraud, assets that were not brought up in court, or some kind of misconduct, the court will not change a property division.

It’s vital that you and your attorney go through every aspect of your property division before you sign it as you probably will have to live with the consequences afterward.

I Can Handle My Divorce On My Own

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you were really good friends with your spouse and you had no children or high-value assets to worry about? That’s the only divorce case that should consider going without an attorney and, trust us, very, very few cases meet that criteria.

How much would you be willing to spend to make sure that someone was looking out for your rights? How much would you be willing to spend for the peace of mind that comes with knowing that someone is making sure you are not getting taken advantage of? If you have significant assets, are fighting for custody of your children, are in a hostile divorce, or just don’t want to navigate the Georgia divorce laws, you need an attorney.

There are lots of common divorce myths out there. If you want to know the truth, contact Family Matters Law Group. We’ve been handing out the truth to clients in Henry, Clayton, and Fayette counties for years now. If you are in the Atlanta metro area, and you need help with a divorce or custody case, contact us online or by phone to set up a consultation. We’re ready to hear your story, debunk common divorce myths, and fight for your children and assets!