There is a popular myth among divorcing couples, which has the mother automatically gaining custody of the children. While this myth is simply not true, it is relatively prevalent among couples and can lead to serious challenges in the preparation of a case. Because a divorce is a time of trouble and considerable emotional hardship it becomes vital to understand all your rights and the actual content of the law before making snap decisions, which is why an attorney is critically important.
Laws today are very different and do not seek to favor one or the other party, especially with regards to child custody. Here are some things that the court does look at; versus the popular urban legends about divorce floating around the water cooler.
Myth: Mothers are automatically favored and will by default be awarded custody of the children, especially if they are young.
Fact: The fact is that mothers are not directly favored, neither are fathers. The law, in states like Florida, spells out very specifically that neither party will be favored and that the law cannot act in the best interest of one or the other party.
Myth: The one making the most money will have to pay a great deal of support and maintenance to the other party because they are not making as much. It is better to have no income or lower income during a divorce.
Fact: The court looks at a variety of factors to make sure the division of assets is equable. This means that income is certainly a factor. However, if one partner is not working or is under employed voluntarily the court will account for income to that person depending on what they are capable of making. This may seem unfair at times, but it is the only way the court can prevent manipulation of the system by voluntary unemployment or underemployment.
Myth: Divorce decrees are written in stone and once they are written there is no going back to change or modify them.
Fact: Circumstances change, often significantly, which allows one or the other party to go back and request the court to change the divorce decrees. Typically courts will not change a property distribution that has been set out but other parts can be changed depending on the circumstances. These include, and are not limited to, child support, alimony, and visitation.
Myth: Lawyers cost an arm and a leg, so it is better to try and represent your own interests in the court. There are many resources to help you and you will be just fine by yourself. Aunt Betty represented herself and was awarded everything but the kitchen sink, so it behooves you to try the legal justice wheel of fortune by yourself.
Fact: The legal justice system is complex and riddled with policy and procedures. Failure to follow the proper process can lead to significant losses. There are many resources available, but often the resources will only show you the exact law which can lead you to more confusion when you try to interpret it. Lawyers are trained for years to ensure that they can follow the correct procedures, understand the laws and statutes fully, and guide you in the best possible manner. Divorces can be expensive, even more so if your former significant other has a lawyer and you are going it alone. Finding out the cost of an attorney and ensuring that you have the right representation are critical in safeguarding your rights.
Andrew Miller is an avid legal blogger and manager of over 20 attorney blogs. This article was written on behalf of Charles R. Ullman & Associates : A North Caroline Divorce attorney.