Filing for divorce is a big decision, but it can help those wanting to get out of a difficult or abusive marriage, so they can move on with their lives. Divorce is a perfectly viable and understandable option for many, and in several cases, it is necessary for maintaining a person’s well-being. However, many misconceptions surround the legal process that steers people away from getting a necessary divorce. Let’s review and debunk some of the most common myths about the divorce process to help clear the air.

Mothers Always Receive Custody

Many fathers avoid getting divorced for fear of losing complete custody of their children. In the past, due to unconscious biases, it was common for women to get custody. However, in the eyes of the law, men and women have the same parental rights. Years ago, they might assume that what’s right for the child is to be with the mother, but as social perceptions and awareness change, so do the opinions and choices of judges. Today, more courts focus on doing what’s right for the child in a way that is separate from gender biases.

Women Always Receive Spousal Support

Part of these old-school gender biases upheld the idea that women need more financial support than men. In the past, when women didn’t have as many rights and were forced to stay at home with the children, this was often true. Today, most working-age women are fully capable of taking care of themselves. While some women choose to stay home with their children, it’s certainly no longer a given. Fortunately, courts focus on supporting the spouses that need it, removing gender bias from the equation.

You Must Divorce in the Same State You Married

The law understands that life rarely remains static, and as long as your state has jurisdiction over the divorce, you can get divorced in any state—what does this mean? For a state to have jurisdiction over your divorce, you must meet your area’s residency requirements, which vary from state to state, and can even extend to the county level. You have to live in the state for at least six months and three months in the county. Afterward, you can safely file for divorce, and the courts will have jurisdiction over your case.

All Divorces Go To Court

In truth, most divorce cases don’t end up going to court. Often, mediation outside of a court setting is enough. A divorce will go through the courts if there are special circumstances, such as custody issues or complex assets that need dividing. However, even if you and your partner don’t agree on things, you can still work out an arrangement outside of court through arbitration, mediation, or a collaborative divorce. As time goes by, it’s becoming increasingly common for separating couples not to argue over every little detail and to divorce each other amicably.

Everything Is Split Evenly

You can categorize states into two legal types: common law and community property. In a community property state, spouses are joint owners of all debts and assets inherited upon marriage. In a common law state, every spouse is a separate being with their own legal property. Ultimately, these categorizations declare that spouses can split their assets 50/50, but this rarely happens. Texas is a community property state, and depending on the type of asset in question and when and how the spouses acquired it, the state will split it differently.

Adultery Means You Lose Everything

Whether your state is a no-fault state doesn’t truly impact a court’s divorce decision in terms of adultery. While it may come up in court, it certainly doesn’t mean you will lose all your assets and complete custody of your children. However, if the adultery impacted your finances or shows the court that you may not be fit to care for your children, then that’s an entirely different situation. Ultimately, you won’t lose everything simply because adultery occurred.

You Need Your Spouse’s Permission To Divorce

Many wanting to get a divorce are afraid to serve their spouse with divorce papers for fear of them not agreeing, leaving them trapped in a marriage. No matter what state you live in, you do not need your spouse’s permission to get a divorce. Your spouse may ignore or refuse to sign the papers, but they have an allotted amount of time to change their mind. This waiting period varies depending on your state, but once that period is up, you can file a motion for default.

If You Don’t Pay Child Support, You Can’t See Your Children

Child support and child custody are not synonymous. Keeping a child from seeing their parent because the spouse is not paying child support is illegal. Once the court makes a custody arrangement and parenting plan, both parents are legally obligated to follow it. If your ex refuses to pay child support, you can bring this up to the courts. This decision may result in the withdrawal of visitation rights, but it’s not something that you can legally take into your own hands. The court may find you in contempt if you do.

You Can Get a Divorce Without a Lawyer

No law demands that you have a lawyer if you want to get a divorce, and in some cases, such as in a no-contest divorce, you may not need a lawyer at all. Nonetheless, independently proceeding with a divorce isn’t easy if you have children or any assets you want to protect. No matter how much money you spend on hiring a lawyer, there’s no guarantee that your divorce proceedings will go your way. Family law is incredibly complex, and it’s not something you can easily navigate without professional guidance. Hiring a divorce lawyer gives you the best shot at protecting your assets and getting a custody agreement that suits you.

After debunking some of these common myths regarding divorce and detailing the process, hopefully, you can better determine if this step is the right option for you. Contact Northern Legal today if you’re still unsure or have more questions surrounding divorce. We can put you in touch with one of our divorce attorneys in Amarillo, Texas, so you can get the professional legal counsel you deserve.

Debunking Common Myths About the Divorce Process