8 Common Myths You’ve Probably Heard about Divorce

A divorcing couple screaming

Misinformation travels fast online. The best way you can be sure that those “helpful” tidbits of advice that you read about on your favourite blog are actually true is to consult with an experienced family lawyer. The last thing you want is to make important decisions based on information that simply isn’t correct.

8 commonly believed myths about divorce:

1. You can deny your ex their visitation rights if they stop paying child support

It might seem like a perfectly reasonable reaction – once the support payments stop you won’t let your ex see the children. However, the legal system views these as two separate issues, so you don’t have the right to deny your ex from their kids. The best thing to do in this case is to contact your lawyer and find out what you can do in order to rectify the situation.

2. Getting caught in infidelity means you lose everything

The legal system places a greater focus these days on the economics of divorce, including property division and distribution of other assets. If a partner manages to prove that their ex committed adultery it will not be considered a matter of judicial discretion that will influence the settlement or decision in the matter.

3. If you leave your home you abandoned your rights to it

This is not the case in Ontario.  As a spouse, you have equal right to access a matrimonial home unless there is a Court Order preventing you from doing so.  You have the right to occupy the home under the Divorce Act.  Leaving the residence does not change this, nor does it prevent you from realizing on the equity in the property.  This is true regardless if your name is on the title or not.  Having said that, you should speak to a lawyer before leaving the residence to ensure that you do not jeopardize your rights to access to the child.

4. Mom automatically gets the kids

It is true that historically the mother gets child custody in divorce cases while the father pays child support, but it is far from a guarantee. Currently, there has been a shift in the Courts toward shared parenting.  For younger children especially a mother traditionally have a stronger role in supporting the child – but fathers are regularly granted frequent, even daily access, to young infants in order to bond with the child.

5. Children choose which parent they will live with

Courts take the best interests of the children into consideration when deciding which parent they will live with – and that might even go against the wishes of the children themselves! There isn’t a simple answer for who is likely to get custody or why – it depends so much on the circumstances of the divorce.  Having said that, if the children are 14 years of age or older they will have a significant role in choosing where they will reside.

6. Divorce requires a lengthy court battle

The word “divorce” usually conjures up the mental image of two partners locked in a war of attrition, punctuated by barrages of insults and putdowns.

In reality, many divorces today are settled peacefully out of court through mediation or collaboration. In this approach, both parties work together along with their lawyers to find mutually beneficial solutions.

7. Both partners typically are angry at each other after a divorce

This myth is an extension of the previous point. Many people believe that a divorce is caused an intense falling out or betrayal. More often, however, the divorcing couple simply drift apart and are looking for a way to legally separate without drama. If you take the time to find and work together with family lawyers that understand your goals and won’t try to fan any flames you can expect a peaceful dissolution of your marriage.

8. Everything is divided 50/50 in a divorce

Divorce means all your assets get split right down the middle, right? Well, assets acquired during the marriage are given a value and divided, but that’s just the start of it. Depending on when assets and liabilities are acquired will have a significant impact on how they are divided.  Likewise, how assets are acquired impact how they are shared.  For example, if an asset is acquired through an inheritance, if that asset is kept separate, it is excluded from the division of assets in a separation.

9. All divorces end up in court

Forget the length and expensive court battles you see on TV or in movies. Forget the dramatic surprise witnesses and the unexpected stories from the witness stand. Many divorces are resolved without requiring a trial or a judge to intervene. In many cases, the separating couple will be able to find a solution with the help of their lawyers. Otherwise, they may call in a mediator or arbitrator as an independent third-party to make the final decisions.

Hopefully this list above gave you some helpful clarifications about some of the more common untruths! For even more valuable knowledge and practical expertise that you can rely on to guide you through your family law dispute, get in contact with Epstein & Associates today for a free initial consultation.