If you’re like many future divorcees, you’re probably lying awake at night because of something your friend said or something you saw in a Woody Allen movie that suggests how much you stand to lose in a divorce. You’re probably picturing your spouse living in your house, raising your children and spending your money with someone else while you sit destitute at a truck-stop motel, hemorrhaging cash and trying to figure out where it all went wrong. Before you resign yourself to a lifetime of unhappiness, perhaps because you’re scared of what a divorce will mean, here are a few commonly believed myths about what you can expect from the divorce process.
The Mother Always Gets the Children This is specifically for the paranoid future ex-husbands of the world. While, admittedly, a majority of divorces go this way, the outcome of a custody battle is often contingent upon parental suitability and the best interest of the children. Though many judges still tend to grant custody to the mother when all things are equal and both parents prove fit, cultural shifts mean that many divorce judges have favored fathers in recent years.
Alimony or Palimony is InevitableIn a majority of cases, spousal obligation is confined strictly to child support. Permanent alimony and, increasingly, palimony, are generally awarded to stay-at-home parents who have elected to remain at home with the children during the course of the marriage and, thus, have been unable to cultivate a career or a means of supporting themselves. In many cases, gainful employment can be the worst enemy of a divorced spouse seeking alimony.
You Will Lose Your House and All Your PropertyIt is true that everyone stands to lose a little in a divorce; however, it is not guaranteed that a court will order you to give your home to your spouse. Every divorce agreement is different, and you or your spouse may even have the opportunity to buy each other out or simply negotiate the sale of the property and split the profits. One common misconception, however, is that engagement rings are marital property and thus subject to negotiation in the divorce. The reality is that the ring belongs to the spouse to whom it was given at the time of proposal.
You Will Ruin Your ChildrenHonesty, candor and maturity will go a long in helping your children cope with the prospect of you and your spouse splitting and help them come out of the process well adjusted. Many parents worry that their divorce will have a direct impact on their children’s ability to sustain a healthy marriage; this is generally not the case.
When you’re at the point of asking your spouse for a divorce, it’s probably for a good reason. Instead of relying on cultural stereotypes and hearsay, talk to an experienced divorce attorney about your legal options.
Graziano and Flynn, P.C. has been helping New Jersey couples through the divorce process for years. If you and your spouse are contemplating a divorce, call us today for a free consultation.