Common Misconceptions About Divorce

There are a lot of common misconceptions about divorce.  Most people getting divorced have never had any interaction with the legal system or litigation so it can be very overwhelming.  Everyone knows someone who knows someone who has been divorced, and all of the sudden they think they know what is going to happen in your divorce.  Every situation is different, and there are a lot of misconceptions and myths out there.  Here are a few:

“I can’t move out of the house because that is abandonment.”  

The Alabama Code sets out one of the fault grounds for divorce as follows: For voluntary abandonment from bed and board for one year next preceding the filing of the complaint.  You would have to leave for over a year, over the objection of your spouse, prior to a divorce being filed, to constitute this legal definition of “abandonment.” You do not forfeit any legal rights if you and your spouse are getting divorced and you decide to separate.

“My husband cheated on me so that means I will get alimony.”  

Alimony is designed to her maintain financially dependent spouse in the lifestyle to which they were accustomed during the marriage.  While fault such as adultery will certainly be considered by the court, alimony is primarily determined by one spouse’s need and the other spouse’s ability to pay.  If you earn more money than your husband, even if he cheated on you, you are not going to get alimony because you are not the financially dependent spouse.

“Moms always get custody of the children.”

Courts are bound determine child custody based on the best interests of the children.  Frequently, that ends up being the mother, especially of very young children, due to the fact that, in a lot of families, the mother is the primary caregiver of the children.  Under the law, there is no gender preference for mothers over fathers in terms of custody, and the Court will consider the facts and circumstances of your family and your particular situation in determining what is best for the children.  Equal parenting time, or joint physical custody, of children is becoming much more common and mothers and fathers both work outside the home and equally share parenting responsibilties these days.