Divorce is the subject of soap opera plotlines. Everyone knows someone who has had one, but nobody really likes to talk very frankly about them. There are plenty of myths and superstitions about divorce to contend with.
Thus, many people walk into our offices with a host of unrealistic expectations which eventually hurt their cases.
Fortunately, we’re happy to help you adjust your mindset. Getting your head straight before you begin this process will make a big difference in the overall success of your case. It can also help you avoid making expensive mistakes.
#1: “My divorce will be uncontested.”
Most divorces become contested divorces in short order.
An “uncontested divorce” is not a divorce where both parties agree to leave one another. It’s a divorce where both parties are in 100% agreement about what will happen to property, debts, alimony, child support, and custody.
If you can’t agree with your spouse well enough to manage a marriage what makes you think you’re going to be able to agree when you start trying to carve your life in half?
#2: “A divorce shouldn’t take very long.”
Some divorces happen in 90 days or less.
Most can take as long as 6 months. There are multiple issues to hammer out, court dates to schedule, and negotiations to engage in. There are also state-mandated waiting periods to navigate.
Much will depend on your situation, on whether this is a “fault” divorce or a “no-fault” divorce, on whether or not you separated prior to the divorce, and the complexity of the assets you and your spouse have an interest in. But you should be prepared to let the process take as long as it needs to take.
#3: “Equitable distribution means 50/50.”
You can’t enter the divorce process believing you will receive exactly half of all the assets. This happens only rarely. The court is attempting to figure out what’s “fair,” and there are plenty of factors to consider.
The length of the marriage, prior marriages, income and vocational skills, contributions to the marriage and family, value of non-marital property, the economic circumstances of both parties, custody arrangements…the courts are going to look at everything.
Thus, the split may look more like a 60/40 split to you. Or 70/30. This is one reason why it’s very important to have a qualified family law attorney fighting for you.
#4: “My spouse cheated, so I get everything.”
Whether you’re filing a “fault” divorce or a “no-fault” divorce, it’s important to understand that your spouse’s bad behavior is the one factor courts don’t consider when it’s time to divvy up the property.
Proving fault, if you can, may sometimes help in other ways. Sometimes, it just makes the divorce harder and more expensive. You may wish to opt for a no-fault divorce even if your spouse slept with everyone in Philly. Consult with us before making any decisions.
#5: “Mom gets custody.”
The court evaluates 16 factors to decide who will get custody of the children. Dads get custody too.
If you want to secure sole custody of your children you should work with your attorney to figure out how you can make the best case for why your sole custody is in the best interests of your children.
Take advantage of one of our free and confidential consultations. We’ll discuss all your questions, concerns, and expectations. We don’t just represent you. We educate you so you can put your best foot forward throughout your case. Call 215-814-0395 to get started today.
The Huffington Post did a nice article which covers more things you can expect during your divorce.