Common Myths About Divorce

Only women receive spousal support

This may have been true decades ago, but roles have changed and evolved and each family is completely unique. Spousal support was not created as a sole benefit to the wife, but rather to close an income discrepancy when one spouse has contributed to the marriage in ways other than breadwinning. Spousal support may be awarded any number of different ways. For example, a full-time father or a spouse separating from a same-sex marriage is just as eligible to receive support as a full-time mother in a traditional marriage would be.

Mother always gets custody

The court decides based on what is in the best interest of the child. Joint custody is very common and will be spelled out in the parenting plan.

The marital estate gets split equally into halves

Georgia follows the doctrine of Equitable Division, so the estate will be split fairly based on a number of different factors, including financial standings of each spouse and their abilities to support themselves. This doesn’t always mean a completely equal split. There are marital assets and separate assets. Marital assets are again, split fairly, and separate assets (acquired before marriage or received as a gift or inheritance during) go to each corresponding spouse.

Visitation can be limited by support payments (or lack thereof)

Failure to pay support payments does not preclude the noncustodial spouse from visitation (these are two separate issues). The reverse is also true in that even if the primary custodial parent interferes with visitation, the secondary custodial parent cannot withhold payments.

There is a timeline for the divorce process

While there are ubiquitous checkpoints along the way during the life of a divorce case, your attorney can only estimate how long it will take to reach these based on precedence. The full length of your case will depend on the number and types of issues to be addressed. Some cases reach settlement immediately, while others may include mediation, arbitration or adjudication.

Divorce will cost me <set amount> of money

As with a timeline, the cost of the divorce process can be estimated by your attorney, but since the work is billed hourly, he or she won’t be able to give you an exact number (if he or she does, that is a red flag). To minimize costs, be prepared and organized with financial statements and seek settlement, mediation or arbitration rather than trial. These options are significantly less expensive and the way most cases are resolved.

Seeking divorce is a bad or disgraceful thing

This is likely the biggest myth of all. While people get divorced for many reasons, often the most common is that staying together would cause far worse mental and emotional turmoil than separating. Especially in the case of abuse, divorce is the healthiest, most healing option. Our major goal when working with couples and families is to help them move away from distress and seek a stable, lasting solution.

It’s better to stay married “for the kids”

Children are highly perceptive and can and often do carry stress imposed on them by being around unhappy parents. Most couples find that their children are receptive to familial status change if it means everyone will be happier, healthier and more comfortable.

Divorce is someone’s fault

While there are sometimes serious transgressions in a marriage, other times couples find that they are simply not compatible. There is no shame in seeking separation even if it seems like there hasn’t been a major wrongdoing or fallout.

Divorced people don’t have reason to grieve

Even if the split was amicable and your family is healthier now because of it, that doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to look back on good memories with fondness. The process doesn’t end the moment you sign the papers. It will take time, effort and support from friends and family to rebuild your unit in a different and hopefully better way than before. Allow yourself time and space to mourn the marriage, seek help, discuss with confidantes, focus on your mental and emotional health and grow into the changes.

Your spouse can block you from seeking divorce

As long as you, the petitioner, can show the court you have met the basic requirements, the divorce process will happen.

You have to get divorced in the state in which you were married

To get divorced in Georgia, one of the spouses has to have established legal residency for at least six months prior to filing and must be a current resident at the time of filing.

The goal of a divorce attorney is to make money and win everything

No one wins everything in a divorce case. The court views it more as an economic split than a dissolution of love. The goal of your attorney should be to understand your needs and seek that which is most valuable and necessary to you, not try co-conspire a passionate take-down of your spouse.

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