As we explore common misconceptions about divorce, it must be noted that somewhere along the lines many people began to accept several misguided notions as truth. While some concepts have been true in the past, these ideas are no longer the standard for all divorces.
Misconception One – A 50/50 division of assets is the fair choice for both parties.
Did one of you decide to stop being a part of the work force in order to stay home for the children? If so, you’ve put your traditional career on hold, which means you haven’t had the added benefits of health insurance, sick days, vacation, retirement plans and a steady salary.
As the non-employed spouse, you are entitled to these benefits your ex-spouse has been receiving, along with the traditional income. Instead of 50/50, the judge often looks at what is considered a “fair and equitable” split. One person may be required to pay more into any debt and therefore receive a larger award, or one party may be awarded the house but not pay equity and then not granted an even split of the retirement savings. There are many ways to be creative and divide assets.
Misconception Two – Children suffer no long-term effects from divorce.
Divorce isn’t just about the two adults choosing to end their relationship; there are many other negative implications. According to the Center for Divorce Education, only two in three children suffer from problems due to their parents’ divorce. These problems can be anything from low self-esteem to depression, and it may take years for them to recover. Looking into the future, children from divorced families are also more likely to go through a divorce themselves.
Misconception Three – Divorce isn’t really a serious matter.
No matter how long your relationship lasted, a permanent break up is bound to cause pain. The emotional toll of divorce, second only to death, is likely to last up to two years. In addition to the emotional side of divorce, there is the obvious financial burden, and often people don’t think of the social implications that may be attached. If you’re a woman, be prepared for your standard of living to change, perhaps drastically; on average it decreases 27 percent. Many people may think you’ve chosen the easy way out, but divorce isn’t easy. It’s a process. You have to discuss sensitive subjects and compromise to reach the end result. Even when it’s said and done, you’ll have to heal and rebuild as a newly single adult.
Misconception Four – Alimony isn’t important because women are just going to remarry.
While nearly 52 percent of men remarry after divorce, only around 44 percent of women remarry. Compounded with the fact that women tend to outlive men and therefore need larger retirement funds as support, alimony indeed becomes an important aspect of the financial divorce.
If the woman needs to re-enter the business world after being a homemaker for several years, she is likely to find a lower paying job than if she had stayed in the workforce. This job is likely to support her current cost of living and her children, but without the alimony, saving for the future becomes more difficult.
Based in Houston, Hiller Law has represented everyday people, athletes, executives, business owners, professionals and their spouses in divorces and family law matters since 1989.