If you have never experienced the divorce process before, you will quickly find that there are a lot of myths and misconceptions out there. Some may be relayed to you by well-meaning friends and some you may pick up during your online research. However you acquire this information, it can actually be harmful to your case if you believe it.
For example, here are four common misconceptions about divorce that will do more harm than good:
#1: My divorce will be quick and easy because we agree on everything.
Divorcing couples that are on relatively good terms often believe that because they agree on the main issues like property division or child custody that they can negotiate their entire agreement between themselves. However, experience shows that divorces with no disputed issues are few and far between. Often it only takes a little digging into the finer points for couples to realize there are things they hadn’t considered — things that can have a ripple effect and change the dynamics of settlement negotiations.
#2: My divorce will give me an opportunity to use the court system to punish my spouse.
It is all too common for spouses to want to punish each other during a divorce, and this typically manifests in unreasonable demands. Divorce is not about punishment; the courts certainly don’t view it that way, so you are likely to fail in your attempt to “get back” at your spouse with a scorched earth strategy. In fact, experienced family law judges have probably heard many worse things than the stories you could tell and are not interested in sitting in moral judgment of either spouse. The court’s job is to allocate assets and debts, establish future support, and determine child custody. That’s it. Don’t look to a family court for a moral victory.
#3: My divorce strategy is to win at all costs.
Unlike typical civil lawsuits, there are no winners in divorce. In fact, divorce law is designed to prevent an outcome where there is a clear winner and loser. Your marital assets are likely to be divided fairly evenly, depending on the specifics. Child custody will be decided based on the best interests of the children, not yours. Every case has its own unique set of facts and circumstances so don’t think you can compare your situation to someone you heard about who got to keep the house or didn’t have to pay child support. Every divorce and its eventual outcome are different.
#4: My divorce won’t take much time before it’s over.
Some people approach a divorce with a shot clock, thinking they can dictate how long the process will take. But even if you agree on all the terms of your settlement, the New Jersey divorce process takes time. While some states require waiting periods before a couple can file, New Jersey only requires waiting periods for specific grounds. If the grounds are irreconcilable differences, the waiting period is six months. If you file based on desertion, your spouse must have been out of the picture for at least a year. And if your divorce is “no-fault,” you must be voluntarily separated without interruption for 18 months prior to filing. In a contested case, the timeframe is typically much longer. New Jersey requires mediation prior to scheduling a court date.
It is important that you do not wait too long to retain an attorney when you are facing a family law issue. Delays can cost you valuable legal rights, and you want to make sure that you have the advice and support you need to make the best decisions for you and your family long after the divorce settlement is reached. Contact us today for your free consultation.