Many individuals or couples put off getting a divorce. They might be staying together for the kids, or one spouse feels they may not have enough money to move out, or feel if they leave first they’ll be responsible for the majority of financial support. All of these, however, are not necessarily true. In today’s blog, we’ll take a look at common divorce myths and give you the real story.
MYTH: Courts prefer mothers over fathers
Although this may have been true in our grandparents’ generation, todays’ courts base their child custody decisions solely on the best interest of the child. Depending on the circumstances of your situation, many Maryland courts will award parents shared custody in order to provide a child the most possible time with both parents, and they should do so in a gender-neutral manner. In cases where a parent is deemed unfit, they will not be awarded custody, regardless of whether they are the mother or father.
MYTH: My spouse will get half of everything I own
In a divorce, equitable asset division does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split. Instead, “equitable” means “fair.” You are entitled to keep the assets you owned before marriage, and any assets acquired during your marriage will be split equitably between you both. This can include things like the marital home and retirement assets. The court typically uses the following factors when determining property division:
- Length of the marriage
- Age and health of each spouse
- How the assets were acquired
- Economic circumstances of each spouse
- How each spouse contributed
- Whether there was marital misconduct
- Whether the court awards alimony
Your attorney can work with you to negotiate a fair distribution of assets and property.
MYTH: We should stay together until the kids are grown
Some couples, although they know their marriage is effectively over, make the choice to stay together for “the sake of the children,” in an effort to protect them from the stress and upheaval of a divorce during their formative years. One thing many experts point out, however, is that children notice more than we realize. They may pick up on subtle changes in your or your spouse’s behavior and can become emotionally affected as well. Remember, kids learn what they see.
Consider what you want to teach your children about love, relationships, and marriage – in the way you and your spouse communicate, settle disagreements, and interact every day. You may be doing more harm than good.
MYTH: I’ll have to go to court to get a divorce
Unlike television and the movies, not every divorce ends in a contentious courtroom trial. In fact, with tools like mediation or collaborative divorce, you may need never step into a courtroom at all. These voluntary processes take place outside of court with the help of attorneys and third-party experts, who assist you and your spouse in working out the details of your divorce. They also help keep your divorce settlement matters private, and allow you and your spouse to come to mutual agreement instead of the court making all the decisions. After all, nobody knows your family better than you do.
MYTH: A divorce will negatively affect my credit
According to Experian, a credit reporting company, divorce proceedings will not affect your credit score. Credit reports don’t list your marital status, so whether you’re married or divorced won’t have an effect on your score. However, if you and your spouse split up joint accounts during the divorce process, it may reflect on your credit report. Here’s why.
Joint accounts are those lines of credits opened in both of your names, or where one of you is an authorized user on the other’s account. As long as both of your names are on the account, you are both legally responsible and all debts will reflect on both of your credit reports – even if your divorce agreement assigns your spouse those debts. Ensure you pay off and close your joint accounts prior to divorce. Remove your spouse as an authorized user, and open an individual account to begin strengthening your own credit.
MYTH: I’m too old to get divorced
You are never too old for a new journey in life. In fact, the “gray divorce” trend continues growing as more and more couples in their 50s and beyond choose to split up. With changes in divorce stigmas, empty nests, and the higher divorce rate for second or third marriages, gray divorce is more common than ever.
Psychology Today attributes this cultural shift as one that slowly took root over the past three decades: “In the late 1960s and 1970s, a focus on personal happiness and self-fulfillment became prominent. In subsequent decades in most industrialized countries, life expectancy significantly increased, attitudes about marriage as a lifelong institution shifted, divorce became more socially acceptable, and women joined the workforce and became more financially independent.”
Do you have questions about the divorce process? We have answers. Talk to the Rockville family law attorneys at McCabe Russell, P.A. today. We can sit down with you to discuss the right options for your situation and work for the best possible outcome. Set up a consultation with a member of our team today by calling 443-917-3347 or reaching out to us through our contact form today. We also maintain offices in Bethesda, Fulton, and Columbia.