In Massachusetts and elsewhere, those who are getting a divorce or even just thinking about doing so have probably already starting hearing advice from a variety of sources. The problem is, though, that much of this advice is not only false, but even potentially dangerous. There are a number of common mistaken beliefs and even flat-out falsehoods surrounding divorce that many people truly think are fact.
Some couples believe that they can use one lawyer to represent both of them in the divorce; this is incorrect. While some individuals may decide to represent themselves, lawyers represent only one spouse during divorce proceedings. Divorcing couples may also have been told that they should completely insulate their children from the divorce and avoid any mention of the issue. This may be the result of a misguided attempt to shield children from antagonism and negativity, and while that is doable and even admirable, refusing to talk about the divorce at all is likely to result in increased anxiety for the children.
There are commonly held financial beliefs about divorce that can also prove damaging. Many people think that their pension plan is protected from their spouse during property division. However, a federal law explicitly permits pension benefit distribution in a divorce settlement, accomplished by way of something called a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO).
Another money mistake may involve attempting to determine child support payments, as some people believe that doing so is as simple as looking the information up online; this couldn't be further from the truth. Calculating child support is a complicated procedure that takes into consideration income, childcare needs, employment perks, health insurance and other information. In reality, help from a divorce attorney can prove invaluable in this aspect, particularly if one of the divorcing spouses is self-employed. Regardless, securing the knowledgeable counsel and representation of a Massachusetts family law attorney is almost always the best strategy for smooth divorce proceedings.
Source: The Huffington Post, "Divorce Alternative Facts: A Half Dozen of the Biggest Whoppers", Larry Sarezky, Feb. 22, 2017