When people get divorced and they have never been through the process before, there is often a large focus on figuring out what they need to do. They want to know what steps to take, what options they have, what obligations they have and what tactics to use.
You do need to look into all of this, but it’s also wise to look at the other side of the coin: what you shouldn’t do. And what you really should not do is buy into some common divorce myths and let them influence your actions. That could result in serious mistakes that you can’t fix after the fact. Here are a few myths to look out for:
1. You can ignore the divorce filing or ask the judge to deny the divorce.
This is simply not how it works. Petitioning for a divorce does not really mean asking for the divorce in the traditional sense. The court will not trap you or your spouse in a marriage when you want a divorce. All the court does is sort out the details. Likewise, it only takes one person to get a divorce. If you ignore a divorce filing, assuming the court can’t move forward without you, they’ll just rule in favor of your spouse and grant the divorce anyway.
2. You have the right to deny visitation after a divorce.
You do not. If your ex has visitation rights and gets to see the children, you can’t deny those rights for (almost) any reason. Parents often want to deny visitation if the other person falls behind on child support payments, for instance. This is illegal.
There is one exception: Safety. If you think the child is in danger, then you can deny visitation, but only if you honestly believe that an imminent threat exists.
3. Your children can choose where they live.
Your children may have a say in the process of determining where they live. The older they get, the more the court pays attention to their desires and wishes. However, they cannot choose it all on their own. It’s one factor that the court takes into account, not the only factor.
4. Fathers do not get custody.
Similarly to the above, people often think that custody will go to the mother in all cases. That’s not how it works with modern divorce laws. Fathers have rights, too. More and more, courts work to split up time so that children can see both of their parents.
These divorce myths can show you what to avoid and what to watch out for. At the same time, make sure you know what rights you have and what steps to take as you end your marriage.