Common Misconceptions About Divorce & Family Law
March 27, 2023
When you enter into a new stage in life, whether it’s being married or welcoming a new baby into your home, you’re likely filled with excitement and hope about the future. However, when you’re facing changes and challenges, like going through a divorce or deciding a child custody arrangement, you are often less prepared and may even have misconceptions that can prove to be harmful.
If you’re going through a tough transition in your life and would like to sit down with a family law attorney, our team at McCarter | East PLLC can help. From our offices in both Murfreesboro and Manchester, Tennessee, our firm can help you navigate this difficult time in your life.
Five Common Misconceptions About Divorce & Family Law
If the other parent doesn’t pay child support, I can withhold visitation.
It’s a struggle for many divorcing parents to get used to splitting custody of their child and figuring out how to meet their expenses on a single income. Because of this, child support is often awarded to the lower-earning parent. When this support is either late or not being paid at all, it’s tempting to withhold visitation from your co-parent, but this should never be done. The only reason you can withhold parenting time is if you legitimately believe your child is being harmed or neglected. If you withhold simply because of a missed payment, you could be jeopardizing your own custody rights.
It’s possible for one of the spouses to deny the divorce.
While it’s certainly possible for one spouse to delay a divorce or make it more complicated, they cannot refuse it. No one can force you to stay married to another person. If you file divorce papers against your spouse, you’ll be required to wait at least 60 days (or 90 days if you have minor children) before the courts will take action, but the receiving spouse must issue a reply within 30 days. During this time, both spouses should be thinking about the terms they’d like to propose and be working to come to an agreement on how to split assets or divide child custody.
The mother is always awarded primary custody of the children.
There is no law stating that a mother gets preferential treatment when it comes to awarding custody of children. In fact, all courts actively try to keep both parents involved in the child’s life whenever possible and will make custody decisions based on the best interests of the child. Whenever possible, this means ensuring both parents have a meaningful and consistent presence in their child’s life.
Alimony is a part of any divorce.
Alimony (also called spousal support) is never automatically awarded after a divorce. That said, if the two partners agree to an alimony amount, it will almost always be approved by a judge. If the couple cannot come to a decision on their own, a judge may intervene. Alimony is almost always paid temporarily to the lower-earning spouse and is intended to help them gain training, education, or find a new job that lets them earn a sufficient income to support themselves.
Our assets will all be split 50/50.
Tennessee follows an equitable distribution model for divorces, which means that joint assets will be split fairly between the two partners, but not necessarily equally. This could mean that one spouse gets the house while the other retains control of the retirement funds.
Speak With an Experienced Attorney
Working with an experienced attorney for your family law needs can reduce your stress and ensure your voice is heard. These legal procedures can be long and complicated, and you need someone who will represent your best interests and protect your rights.
Reach out to our firm, McCarter | East PLLC, for help with any of your family law questions. We’re proud to serve our community members in and around Murfreesboro and Manchester, Tennessee.