When people are about to get divorced, they often have misconceptions before they even walk into their attorney’s office. Among the top divorce urban legends and myths are:
- Mothers will automatically get primary custody of the children.
When it comes to child custody, both mothers and fathers are equal in the eyes of the law. Though statistically, it might be true that mothers are more likely to become a child’s custodial parent and the father winds up paying child support, it’s simply because mothers tend to do most of the parenting in a typical American family. The parent that does most of the parenting is a major factor the courts take into consideration when it comes to choosing the custodial parent. When both parents seek custody, the court ultimately bases their decision on the best interests of the child.
- A cheating spouse will pay for their infidelity in court.
Unless arrangements are specifically made in a couple’s prenuptial agreement, the court will not give special treatment or preference to one spouse over the other—even when infidelity is involved. This is because Colorado is a “no-fault” divorce state, which means that judges do not consider relevant the reason why the marriage ended.
Family courts aim to resolve divorce disputes, and will not help one spouse get revenge on another partner. If the court senses that one spouse is using the legal system as a form of revenge, the court may be less inclined to issue a favorable outcome for that spouse.
- It’s okay to set aside some money or assets for yourself before or during a divorce.
Setting aside money or assets for yourself—without your spouse’s knowledge—is considered concealing or hiding assets. Doing so during the divorce process is essentially fraud, potentially rendering any resulting divorce settlements as void. If there are assets you want or believe you deserve, it would be much better to ask an experienced lawyer to help you obtain these assets.
- Marital property is divided 50-50 in a divorce.
Colorado family courts aim to distribute marital party equitably and not necessarily equally. Some factors the courts taken into consideration when dividing marital property include the financial contributions each party made to the marriage, each party’s separate property, and whether there is a valid pre- or post-nuptial agreement in place.
- It is acceptable to deny visitation to the other parent if he or she does not pay child support.
This scenario tends to arise when the non-custodial parent falls behind on child support payments. Due to one parent’s non-payments, the custodial parent often decides to shut the other parent out of his or her children’s lives until child support is paid off. However, this should not be done. The court deems child visitation and child support as two separate issues, and so visitation should in no way be used as leverage. A custodial parent who wishes to collect missed child support payments must take the matter to court, and not in his or her own hands.
Ultimately, remember not to let your ideas and beliefs about divorce cloud your decisions or judgement. It would be most advantageous to hire an experienced divorce attorney who can inform you about your options and rights, and provide you with effective representation moving forward.