When you go through a divorce, everyone has an opinion about your relationship and what will unfold. The truth is, each person’s divorce experience is personal and unique to their situation, and you don’t know what it’s truly like until you’ve been through it yourself.
With that being said, there are misconceptions and myths about divorce that have spread like wildfire over the years. For example, you may have heard that judges favor mothers in courts, or each side gets half, but those are far from the truth. Our Colorado Springs family lawyers have more than 100+ years of combined legal experience, and we have seen unsubstantiated claims become gospel.
Here are the five biggest misconceptions about Colorado divorces.
1. The courts favor the mother in custody cases.
This first misconception has been difficult to dispel because it was once true. There was a time when judges believed that it was best for mothers to have exclusive custody rights. However, this is no longer the case. Most courts, including in Colorado, follow the best interests of the child standard, meaning all parenting responsibilities and visitation discussions are made with the ultimate goal of fostering and encouraging the child’s happiness, security, mental health, and emotional development. Furthermore, it’s presumed that children benefit from having regular contact with both parents.
2. Each side gets half of the assets.
This is untrue of Colorado divorces, but it’s not like that for all states. Community property states govern that all marital property is divided equally between spouses in a divorce. However, Colorado is an equitable division state, meaning property is divided fairly— not necessarily equally.
Courts will review the relevant circumstances when determining a fair and impartial allocation of marital property. For example, they will look at the contributions of each party, the value of the property, and whether the property is incoming generating.
There are two types of property: joint property and marital property. Colorado’s laws state that only property acquired during the marriage (joint property) is divisible by the court. Anything acquired prior to the relationship, gifted, or inherited is considered separate.
3. Men always pay alimony.
“Traditional” family roles change very often, and the times have changed. Although men were seen as the breadwinner thirty years ago, women have made their mark on the workforce, and more men are stay-at-home dads. The role of alimony is to provide rehabilitative aid, specifically in the instance of an income imbalance.
When determining the amount of support, courts will look at factors such as the length of the marriage, the higher-earning spouse’s ability to pay support, the standard of living during the marriage, and more.
4. Divorce is always a contentious legal battle.
From the way the media portrays it, many couples assume they’ll be involved in a legal battle fighting their matters in court. There are indeed contentious divorces, but most are resolved amicably through mediation or negotiations before reaching the courtroom. Although uncontested divorces are rarer, couples also have the option to simplify the divorce process. If they can agree on fair terms, they may qualify for an uncontested divorce.
5. You can get a divorce without a lawyer.
In a very technical sense, you can get through the divorce process without an attorney. However, this route is rarely in the best interest of the individual. Attempting a “DIY divorce” may make your experience worse and result in a less-than-favorable outcome. A skilled attorney should advocate for your rights while providing legal advice to produce a positive effect.
Our Colorado Springs family law attorneys can assist you with your divorce. Don’t wait another day— contact us at (719) 259-0050 and schedule your consultation.