Divorce Myths That Can Hurt Your Future
Unfortunately, most people base their knowledge of divorce on what they have seen in the movies or on television, what they have heard from friends or what they have read online.
The divorce scenarios in the movies and on television are fictional and dramatized for entertainment purposes. These stories are not based on the laws of any particular state, if based on any law at all.
While family and friends have good intentions, their divorce experience is based on the facts and circumstances that are unique to their marriage and divorce and may not apply in your situation.
Lastly, what you read online is only as good as the source who writes it. If anyone other than an attorney generates the content, you should take it with a grain of salt until you confirm the information with a divorce attorney.
As a result of fictionalized divorces, horror stories from family and friends and inaccurate information in the media and social networks, it is easy to fall prey to divorce myths.
The tragedy of falling prey to divorce myths is that you may harm your future by assuming these myths are accurate and acting upon them.
Divorce Myth: Leaving the marital home means you are abandoning your interest in the home.
While this may be the case in some situations, it is not necessarily true, at all, as the clients leave the marital home all the time (and for all kinds of reasons).
For example, if your spouse is abusing you and/or your children, you may be forced to leave the marital home to prevent harm to yourself or your children. (If this is the case talk to your attorney about a Civil Protection Order and if granted you may force your spouse out of the house and you get back in in the house.)
If you can prove to the court that you would have suffered physical harm if you had not vacated the home, the court will consider this when dividing the equity in the marital home.
Of course, it is always better to consult with a divorce attorney before you leave the marital home, if possible; however, your physical safety should be your first concern- (my fundamental advice is simple: if it is a true emergency, don’t call me first. Call the police!).
Divorce Myth: Filing first gives you an advantage in the divorce.
To begin the divorce process, one spouse must file the legal documents required by the court to open a divorce case.
The complaint alleges the reasons why the party is entitled to a divorce as well as what the party is asking the court to do regarding the divorce, property division, support, and custody.
Because the other party has the same opportunity to file legal documents with the court stating his or her position, filing first may only have the advantage of setting the venue for the case if the parties do not live in the same jurisdiction. (Venue is the actual physical location of the court-for example,
Delaware, Franklin, Licking or Morrow County and do believe that each county has its own set of rules and procedures that may or may not be to your advantage.)
In a few cases, the venue could affect how the court decides the issues involved in the case; however, this is not normally the case. Both parties have an equal opportunity to argue their position to the judge at trial regardless of which party initiates the case.
Furthermore, in many situations, the only fault that has to be proven is that the parties are “incompatible,” which is very seldom ever denied by the other side.
Thus, filing first really does not have any benefit if it is solely being used to “trash” the other party by alleging marital misconduct. (Note also that the benefit of filing first may be to obtain a restraining order against your spouse from liquidating assets such as savings accounts, retirement accounts-asap.)
Divorce Myth: Your divorce will cost more if you have substantial property and income.
While a person with substantial means may hire an attorney who charges higher fees, which is completely at the discretion of the individual.
Just because a couple has substantial assets and income is not the sole factor in determining the cost of the divorce. Even if a couple does have substantial marital assets, if the couple can divide the property between themselves in an amicable manner, the number of hours the attorney must spend on the case should be reasonable.
Therefore, the attorney’s fee will often be based on how much the attorney hired charges per hour for a divorce case rather than the size of the assets of the parties.
My office currently uses a simple, win-win flat fee approach. You pay in a few easy payments and know upfront how much your case will cost to settle.
The key factor that typically drives the cost of a divorce is whether the parties can agree on the (or any for that matter) terms of the divorce or if the parties contest every issue.
Divorces are emotional by nature and tempers can flare. When emotions run high, parties may choose to “fight” with each other rather than work together to settle issues. Unfortunately, those “fights” can cost a substantial amount of money in attorney’s fees and costs and often do.
Divorce Myth: Divorce attorneys make matters worse.
Just as with any professional practice, attorneys have received unjust criticism because of the conduct of a few people. Some people allege that divorce attorneys complicate matters on purpose so they can charge higher fees. As a whole, this is not true.
Attorneys serve a very important role in a divorce. Even if the parties agree on how to settle the issues involved in the divorce, the decisions made during a divorce will have a significant effect on the parties’ future.
These decisions should not be made until after the parties have a full understanding of the law regarding these issues. The attorney’s job is to educate his or her client on the law as it applies to the client’s case.
Without this legal guidance, the party may make a decision that is detrimental to his or her future. And without this direction, often time the client ends up in a worse situation than when the case started. In my office, our goal is simple-to get you to a better place.
I believe that any attorney can give legal advice-our goal is to change your life and I guarantee, a divorce is a big-time life-changing event.
Divorce Myth: Mediation never works.
Some jurisdictions require mandatory mediation in all divorce cases because lawmakers have recognized that mediation does work. Mediation reduces the financial cost of divorce as well as reduces the burden on the court system by reducing the number of contested cases that must be handled by the court.
In addition to the financial benefits, family court mediation offers other benefits to the parties.
Mediation allows the parties to work through emotional issues in a non-threatening, non-judgmental environment with an impartial third party. Parties can say things in mediation they cannot say in a courtroom.
A trial is very structured with strict rules about what can and cannot be said. Parties are not free to comment back and forth to each other in court as they are in mediation. Mediation is more flexible thereby giving the parties the ability to work through emotional issues.
Mediation also helps the parties explore mutually beneficial ways to settle the issues involved in the divorce. In most cases, when parties can compromise and agree on the terms of the divorce, the resulting agreement is much better for all parties involved.
Mediation allows the parties to remain in control of how issues will be decided rather than turning control over to a judge. As an experienced and certified divorce mediator, I have seen all sides to mediation and I can truly say-give it a try, it often works.
Hiring an Experienced Divorce Lawyer
The best way to avoid making mistakes in your divorce case that will negatively affect your future is to hire an experienced divorce lawyer.
You certainly would not go to a GP doctor for your heart problem. Your lawyer should answer all of your divorce questions and quickly dispel any divorce myths that you have heard from other sources.
Having sound legal advice is the best way to avoid making horrible mistakes when trying to decide the best way to end your marriage and get on with your life. Let alone how to get to a better place.
Jack W. Carney-DeBord is licensed and admitted to the practice law in the State of Ohio-ONLY. Jack has no intention of soliciting clients in any state other than Ohio and nothing posted on this website should be viewed as an attempt to solicit or do business in ANY state other than the State of Ohio.
The content on this website is provided as general information only and is not legal advice. You should not act or refrain from acting based upon information provided in this site without first consulting legal counsel.
The use of this website does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Jack's Law Office.
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