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5 common misconceptions about divorce

On Behalf of | Dec 1, 2023 | Divorce |

Divorce is a complex and emotional process, and in New York, several myths surround this life-changing event. Dispelling these misconceptions ensures an accurate understanding of the legal processes involved.

Approach divorce with a clearer perspective by uncovering the truth about five of the most common myths about divorce.

1. Quickie divorces are a guarantee

Contrary to popular belief, New York does not offer “quickie” divorces, and there is a mandatory waiting period of six months. This waiting period ensures that both parties have adequate time to contemplate their decision. Expedited divorces may create unrealistic expectations and lead to disappointment.

2. Fault is the only grounds for divorce

Fault represents only one of the grounds for divorce. While the state recognizes fault-based grounds, such as infidelity, cruelty and abandonment as fault-based grounds, it also accepts a “no-fault” option. Couples can cite an “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage for at least six months as sufficient grounds, allowing for a more amicable separation without placing blame on one party.

3. The wealthier spouse always gets more

New York follows the principle of equitable distribution, which involves dividing assets fairly but not necessarily equally. Factors such as each spouse’s financial contributions, earning capacity and the length of the marriage help determine a fair division of assets.

4. Custody always goes to the mother

Another prevalent myth is that mothers always gain custody of their children. The court prioritizes the best interests of the child when determining custody arrangements. The decision process takes into account parental involvement, stability and the child’s preferences. Though historically custody decisions heavily favor mothers, courts now recognize the importance of both parents in a child’s life.

5. Alimony is a given in every divorce

Not every divorce results in alimony payments. The court carefully assesses the financial circumstances of each party before deciding on alimony. Alimony is not an automatic entitlement, and the outcome varies based on the unique details of each case.

Be mindful of making assumptions regarding divorce as they are often based on false or incomplete information. Focus instead on making informed decisions and achieving equitable and constructive resolutions.