Most people realize that divorce is not an easy process. However, other things that you have heard about divorce or relationships that end in divorce may not be true. There is a significant amount of misinformation out there that may have a negative impact on your perception of divorce and how you choose to move forward with a marital dissolution. Below we have outlined some of the most common misconceptions surrounding divorce. Avoid these to have a more realistic picture of your options and make the most well-informed decisions possible.
- Staying together for the kids is always a good idea.
Many people assume that having two married parents is always better for a child. Unfortunately, if there is extreme conflict between the parents or if one (or both) of the parents are unfit, then this is definitely not the case. “Staying together for the kids” also puts pressure on the children in a way that you may not fully appreciate—your child picks up on more than you know. Always consider your child’s best interest, even when it comes to deciding whether divorce may be the best option for their wellbeing.
- Divorce is always expensive.
Although some divorces are extremely expensive, many are not. If the spouses agree on most of the vital aspects of their divorce, a smooth divorce can be fairly inexpensive. However, if you and your spouse argue about every detail—from children to couches—then your divorce is likely going to cost a lot more.
- Getting a divorce means that you failed at your marriage.
Divorce is not an indication of failure. Every relationship is complicated, and you cannot “win” or “lose” a relationship. Getting a divorce simply means that you are unhappy, and you are making a change that will likely be better for you in the long run. Perceptions about divorce should never be a reason to stay in an unhealthy relationship.
- The wives always get everything.
In a divorce, the court divides up property according to your agreement with your spouse or in an equitable manner. It considers non-marital property, income, education, and a host of other factors when deciding who gets what. Women have no advantages in this process over men, even when it comes to child custody.
- You automatically give up everything if you commit adultery.
Washington state is a “no fault” state. That means that the court is not concerned with why your marriage did not work out—it only cares that the relationship is broken and cannot be fixed. This no-fault concept also means that spouses may not need to bring up why the marriage has ended when going through a divorce at all.
- One spouse can stop a divorce.
If one spouse wants out of the marriage, the other spouse cannot force them to stay. This is part of the no-fault divorce concept as well. Before no-fault divorce, one spouse would have to prove that the other did something wrong, but, thankfully, those days are long gone. Today, no one can legally force you to stay married to someone if you want a divorce.
- A child can choose their preferred living arrangements.
If you and your spouse cannot design a custody arrangement that works for you, the court will impose one. Although the child’s wishes are considered when making custody arrangements, the child’s opinion is not the end of the analysis. The court will determine which parent can provide a more stable home and better opportunities for the child when determining where the child should spend the majority of his or her time. As with all aspects of determining divorce terms involving your children, the courts will always make their decision based on what it believes are the best interests of the child.
There are many misconceptions about ending a marriage, but fully understanding how the process works and dispelling any false notions can be extremely helpful in your own divorce. If you are considering a divorce, contact the Law Offices of Kenneth J. Levey. We understand that divorce can be difficult, and we are here to guide you and advocate for you every step of the way.