10 Common Misconceptions about Divorce

1. You can beat the system.  Nice try. That brilliant idea–the one that will allow you to avoid your legitimate obligations– has been thought of before and the law has remedies. Like the guy who sold his business to his brother for $200, the court won’t tolerate this nonsense. Your brilliant idea will undoubtedly backfire.

2. It’s simple. Divorce is not simple. Issues involving the division of property, post-divorce parenting, and the litany of other issues are far from easy. Family law is one of the most complicated areas of law, incorporating tax law, financial planning, asset valuation, principles of child development and other complex legal and factual issues. The resolution of these issues will have affects on the rest of your life and possibly generations to come.

3. You can avoid support by quitting your job. Really??? Do you think it’s that easy? The law has mechanisms to counter this type of behavior. Go ahead and get a job at McDonalds. You will still be paying support as though your income was the amount before you quit your high paying job.

4. Revenge is sweet. Nonsense– revenge is destructive all the way around. If you have been hurt, lick your wounds and move on. Getting trapped in a vengeful proceeding is expensive– both emotionally and economically– and never brings the type of emotional closure one is looking for. And don’t worry—Karma is pretty potent!

5. Lawyers are hired guns. Not good lawyers at least. Lawyers should try to temper your intense emotions, not act as legal hit men. A lawyer’s job is to manage and minimize your conflict, looking at the big picture. Family conflict penetrates generations and lawyers who perpetuate it should be ashamed of themselves. Lawyers who mindlessly jump at your command are not doing you or the system any good.

6. Courts will punish a transgressor. Unfortunately not. Courts look at all issues through a no-fault lens. Your spouse could have been an incorrigible philanderer and the courts are prohibited from considering this. Don’t proceed as though you will be rewarded for your loyalty and discretion. Get the best settlement possible and move on.

7. Courts can solve all of your problems. Not so. Courts are there to resolve specific legal problems, not necessarily solve them. Bad parenting and poor judgment by your spouse are not curable by a court order. Courts can protect children from physical harm, but rarely from emotional harm unless it is extreme and provable. If possible, figure out solutions to counter this without court intervention. Counselors and mental health professionals are much more appropriate resources than courthouses.

8. A divorce ends your relationship with your spouse. Unless there are no children, you will have an ongoing relationship for years to come. While no longer partners, you will continue to be parents. It makes no sense to engage in a protracted conflict destroying any chance you both have to maintain a constructive working relationship for the sake of the children.
9. Your spouse is evil. Maybe…but probably not. After all, you married this person. At one point you loved them. While people change, it is not constructive to demonize them. It is much harder to settle a case with the devil. Try to look at your spouse, not as a villain, but as someone who lost their way. Things will go much better.

10. You can win. Nobody wins at divorce…except perhaps the lawyers. Work it out and get on with your life. Success is the best revenge.


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Filed under divorce, Divorce court

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