Don’t Let These Divorce Myths Guide Your Choice

If your relationship with your spouse has degraded to the point of being unsatisfactory and perhaps even harmful to you, then you might be considering divorce. Divorce can be the right choice for some people, but whether or not it is right for you really depends on your own circumstances and feelings. You want to make that decision based on real facts and knowledge — not based on these divorce myths that are so prevalent in society.

1. Divorce is always an expensive process

If you have limited finances, you may figure you have to stay with your spouse because divorcing is simply too expensive. It's definitely true that there are expensive divorces. However, some divorces can be very affordable. If you and your spouse can agree on the terms of the divorce, you can share an attorney who works as a mediator, keeping your divorce out of the courts. This will only cost a few hundred dollars -- maybe a couple thousand if you have to arrange custody for your kids. This is quite an affordable price for the life restart you really feel you need.

2. You can't divorce if nobody did anything wrong

Your spouse did not cheat on you and nobody has been abusive. You might assume that, in this situation, you cannot get divorced since nobody is at fault. This was true in some states in the past, but this is no longer the case. All states now offer what is called a no-fault divorce. This is a divorce in which neither party has done anything wrong -- or if they have, it does not matter. You can split up simply because you and your spouse want it that way. In some states, you might have to live separately from each other before the divorce is finalized, but this is a small hurdle to jump over since your ultimate goal is to live separately anyways.

3. If the divorce is your fault, you'll lose everything

What if you were the one who strayed and did something wrong in the relationship? You might fear filing for divorce because you've heard that when you're the one in the wrong, the judge will take everything from you and give it all to your spouse. This is not how it works. If your divorce has to go to a court, the judge will decide what is fair to award each one of you, depending on many different factors. Your wrongdoings can be one of those factors, but they won't be the only things considered. It would be a very, very rare case in which you'd walk away with nothing.

4. You can only get divorced in the state where you were married

What if you got married in New York, but now you live in California? Do you need to fly across the country to get divorced? Nope. You can file for divorce in the state where you live, regardless of where you were originally married. The only exception is if you live in a state where there is a residency requirement for divorce. For example, in Virginia, at least one spouse has to have been a resident of the state for 6 months before filing or divorce. If you don't meet this requirement, you could either wait until the 6 months have passed, or you could divorce in the state in which you were married. 

Do you have any lingering questions about the divorce process and what it involves? Turn to your divorce lawyer for advice. They'll have the most specific knowledge for your case and based on your location.