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5 Misconceptions About Fairness In Divorce

5 Misconceptions About Fairness In Divorce

Divorce is rarely an amicable process, and emotions often cloud our understanding of what constitutes a fair settlement. Our friend at Flat Fee Divorce Solutions tackles the 5 most common myths about divorce and legal realities.

1. They Didn’t Work, So They Don’t Deserve Much

Many believe that the spouse who brought in the primary income should keep the majority of assets. While income plays a role, courts take a more holistic approach.  Marital assets in some states are generally considered property acquired during the marriage according to a family lawyer.  This includes contributions made by both spouses, even if one didn’t have a traditional job or made less money.  A stay-at-home parent manages the household, raises children, and contributes significantly to the overall marital well-being, which allows the working spouse to focus on their career.  The value of these contributions is recognized by the court.

2. Punishing Their Spending With Less

It’s tempting to want to “punish” your soon-to-be-ex for frivolous spending.  However, courts are not in the business of assigning blame. The focus is on dividing marital assets equitably.  If excessive spending can be proven to have significantly depleted marital resources, it might be considered during the division of assets. However, the burden of proof lies on the spouse making the claim – and it’s a tough, uphill battle. 

3. Cheating Means They Get Nothing

While infidelity is a serious betrayal, it doesn’t automatically leave the cheating spouse with nothing.  Divorce settlements are based on marital assets and income, not marital conduct in some states (with some exceptions). The emotional impact of infidelity might lead to a desire to punish, but the courts in some states do not take the infidelity into consideration. 

4. Leaving The Home Means Forfeiting Equity

If one spouse leaves the marital home during the separation period, it doesn’t automatically mean they lose their share of the equity. The reason for leaving can be relevant.  If one spouse left due to fear of abuse, that wouldn’t be used against them.  The court will consider the circumstances surrounding the departure and the current ownership status of the home.

5. Stay-at-Home Parents Don’t Deserve Support

Being a stay-at-home parent should come with the title Professional Parent. It is a demanding job that requires significant sacrifices to career and earning potential.  While not bringing in a traditional paycheck, a stay-at-home parent contributes substantially to the marriage – even if it was one parent’s idea.  They raise children, manage the household, and allow the working spouse to focus on their career and not picking up the kids after soccer. These contributions are considered when determining spousal maintenance.  The court will consider the length of the marriage, the income disparity between the spouses, the age and needs of any children, and the stay-at-home parent’s ability to re-enter the workforce. Some courts do not consider who made the decision for one parent to become a professional parent. 

The Importance Of Legal Counsel

Divorce settlements are complex and involve various legal and financial considerations.  Emotions can run high, and it’s easy to lose sight of what constitutes a fair settlement.  Consulting with a qualified attorney with experience in military cases (if applicable) is crucial.  They will help you understand your rights, protect your interests, and navigate the legal process in a way that achieves the best possible outcome for you. Contact a lawyer near you today for help.

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