5 Common Myths About Divorce

Divorce is never pretty, and while many people have had the unfortunate experience of going through a divorce, many others have luckily not. However, with many unaware of what goes on in the proceedings and their only experience with divorce being what they see on TV or in movies, certain myths have arisen. Here are 5 myths on divorce you can put to rest.

Myth 1: Whoever Is at Fault Will “Lose” in the Divorce

Some people think that whoever is at fault for the divorce will have their belongings taken and given to the other party. Even in the case of adultery, the legal standard dividing property is always “fair and equitable.” This means courts ignore who is at fault for the divorce, including cases of adultery. So, unless you have a previous agreement with your spouse, divorce proceedings should typically result in equal division of property and debt.

Myth 2: Spousal Support Is Automatic in Divorce Cases

Spousal support (alimony) is not something that is automatically put in place for whichever party may need it. Typically one party must ask for it. In Tennessee, the court will look at twelve factors to determine whether support is appropriate, and if so, the court will determine the amount to be paid and the duration of the payment. Out of these 12 factors, two are the most important: does the spouse seeking support have a legitimate need for it, and is the spouse paying the support have the ability to pay it.

Myth 3: Both Parties Have to Agree to the Divorce for It to Be Final

Divorce is often used as a plot device in movies. Usually one party is keeping the divorce from being final by refusing to sign divorce papers. While this might keep the agreement these two parties agreed to from passing, everyone has a constitutional right to a divorce. If one party does not participate in the divorce then the court may agree to give the divorcing party everything he or she asks for by default.

Myth 4: One or the Other Parent Often Recieves Full Custody of the Children

Custody works different now with courts allocating parenting time between the parents. One parent serves as the primary residential parent and the other serves as an alternative residential parent. If both parties can agree to equal parenting time, then a shared parenting arrangement is formed. It is rare for courts to award one parent as the primary residential parent and not award the other parent any parenting time unless there is evidence of absence, abuse, or neglect.

Myth 5: If Both Parents Cannot Agree Which One Will Be the Primary Residential Parent, the Court Will Award the Mother the Role

If parties cannot agree on who the primary residential parent should be, the court will conduct what is called a comparative fitness analysis. Factors will be considered in order to determine which parent it would be in the child’s best interest to have as the primary residential parent. Gender does not help nor hurt in this decision.

If you feel like divorce is the best option for you or you find yourself being divorced by your spouse, contact us today for a consultation. Hiring a divorce lawyer is the best way to ensure you receive the best possible outcome for your case.