When a marriage begins to break down, friends and relatives are ready to share their stories and experiences regarding their own or their friends' divorces. However, people outside the legal profession are inundated with information through social media, much of which is incorrect. And, word-of-mouth stories have a tendency to become exaggerated.
Truth be told, attorneys who practice family law are the best sources of legal advice, and understanding the reality behind these common misconceptions may help you prepare properly if you are facing a divorce.
Myth No 1: Cheating spouses are automatically punished
There are a number of ways to terminate your divorce in Texas, and adultery is grounds for divorce. However, there is no automatic punishment or quick result. To petition the court for a divorce based on your spouse's infidelity, you are effectively asking for a "fault" divorce, and you will need to prove the affair.
If proved successfully, the court will consider adultery as a factor when dividing marital assets, deciding child custody matters and awarding alimony. (The partner who committed adultery may be denied spousal support.) The injured spouse may also seek punitive damages for emotional distress.
Myth No. 2: There is no need for common law divorce
About 10 states recognize common law marriages, and Texas is one of them. If you did these three things, you may be considered legally married:
- Agreed to be married
- Lived together as a married couple
- Represented yourselves as a married couple
If you end a common law marriage and stop living together, you may be considered legally married for up to two years after your split. This means that both partners may be obligated to pay living expenses for the other until that time passes. The divorce process is just as important for those in common law marriages as it is for others.
Myth No. 3: Divorce irreparably harms your children
While there is always some fallout from a failed relationship, your children may do better than you expect. Keeping a marriage together when a couple fights on a daily basis is no way to live, for you or your children. Children usually need peaceful and stable environments in which to flourish. Sometimes, they get more of what they need from parents who are apart. Also, removing the marital stress can help parents be the friends they once were and allow them to focus on good parenting. A good divorce typically trumps a bad marriage.
There are many misconceptions about divorce and the divorce process. Get knowledgeable answers and skilled guidance through yours with the help of an experienced family law attorney.