Myths surrounding the divorce process

Several myths exist about divorce, child custody and property division. People should know the truth when facing divorce.

According to the National Marriage Project, the divorce rate for U.S. marriages ranges from 40 to 50 percent. Even though divorce is so prevalent in Indiana and the rest of the country, there are still many myths that surround all aspects of divorce. If you are considering divorce, make sure you educate yourself about the realities behind the myths about divorce.

One spouse can deny the other a divorce

You may be putting off filing for divorce, thinking that it is a fruitless endeavor because your spouse will never agree to a divorce. However, Indiana has no-fault divorce, meaning that you can file for divorce based on "the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage" and do not need to prove that your spouse was at fault in any way nor does your spouse have to agree. All that is required is that you have lived in the state for six months prior to filing the divorce petition, and then there is a 60-day waiting period between the time you file the petition and when the court makes the divorce final.

Mothers always get custody of children

Many people believe that mothers automatically get custody of children when parents divorce. However, Indiana statutes require courts to assess the best interests of the child when making child custody determinations. There is no presumption that mothers are more fit to have custody. The court looks at several factors to determine a child's best interests such as each parent's wishes, the child's wishes, the relationship each parent has with the child and living conditions the child would have with each parent.

Equitable distribution means an equal split

Indiana is an "equitable property division" state. Many people take "equitable division" to mean "equal division" of marital property. In truth, equitable means fair, and an even split of marital assets is not always fair. The court will look at a number of factors to determine the fairest way to divide marital property, including the non-marital assets of each spouse, each spouse's earning capacity and the conduct of each spouse during the marriage.

You do not need an attorney to get divorced

It is true that you can file divorce pro se, or without the assistance of an attorney. However, divorce often involves complicated issues involving dividing assets and child custody. It is not wise to try to handle these matters by yourself while going through the emotional turmoil that often accompanies divorce. You are probably not in the best frame of mind to be making major decisions without help. An attorney can walk you through the divorce process and protect your interests while doing so. If you have questions about divorce, talk to a seasoned Indiana divorce attorney who can help dispel any myths you may have heard about divorce.

Keywords: divorce; family law; property division; child custody