Five Myths about Divorce

1. I cannot get alimony if I committed adultery – There are many factors that the court must consider before making a determination regarding alimony such as the age of the parties, their ability to be self-supporting, their education and wage earning capacity, and health.  What led to the end of the marriage, and this is where adultery may be a factor, is only one of the factors that the court must consider along with many others.

2. I will be required to pay alimony if I committed adultery – See above, there is not one factor that carries such weight that it would automatically entitle someone to pay or receive alimony.  However one factor that carries a lot a weight on the issue of alimony issue is income.

3. I should waive child support to keep my spouse from fighting for custody – Your child is entitled to the support, both financial and emotional, of both parents.  This is your child’s right to waive, not yours.  Even if the other parent does not provide emotional support, does not exercise visitation, or is an absentee parent by all accounts, the court will still order that parent to pay child support pursuant to the Maryland Child Support Guidelines.   Although the type of custody or amount of visitation may have an impact on the actual amount of child support ordered, child custody and visitation have no bearing on whether a child should be financially supported by both parents.  Whether a parent is exercising visitation or not a child still needs food, shelter, clothing, and medical care.

4. If I move out of my marital home then I have given up my rights to it – If you are on the Deed to your home then you still own it no matter where you live; this is the case for married and non-married people alike.    If you are married, then even if you are not on the Deed to the home, you likely still have a marital property interest in the home.   There are many factors that go into determining what your actual property interest may be, however, moving out of your house does not change the nature of your ownership interest.

5. I do not need an attorney if my spouse and I reach an agreement on all of our property and custody issues – Although it is always best to try and come to an agreement on as many issues as possible to avoid the expense of litigation even if the parties reach an agreement on all issues it is still better to have an attorney at least draft the agreement.  People often ask me, do I need a lawyer?  I give them this analogy; I do not need a plumber to replace my hot water heater.  I can do it myself, and did, but because I only knew the basics when I failed to use the correct fittings and sealant and everything started leaking, I called the plumber to fix it.  Unfortunately for divorce there are certain issues that if overlooked or not properly addressed at the time of divorce cannot be “fixed”.   People come in weekly and ask me if there is anything I can do to “fix” their separation agreement or to “fix” a particular issue regarding alimony, health insurance, mortgage interest deductions, financial liability on a loan, transfer of pensions or other retirement, and so on.   Unfortunately about 8 times out of 10 there is absolutely nothing I or anyone else will be able to do to “fix” their problem.

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Posted May 31st, 2011 in Family Law. Tagged: , , , .

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