Common Misconceptions About Divorce & Family Law

On Behalf of | Jan 23, 2022 | Firm News

There’s so much information out there about divorce and legal family matters. How do you know what’s fact and what’s fiction? Knowing the truth versus misconceptions can help you make informed decisions. An expert in family law can guide you through the myths to get to the facts.

Karen S. Brown went above and beyond to receive specialized legal training to become a Certified Legal Specialist in Family Law, a title awarded to her by the State Bar of California. She knows how to leverage her decades of legal experience to help you seek the best path forward for yourself and your family.

The Law Office of Karen S. Brown is proud to represent clients in Los Angeles County, Ventura County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, and the surrounding areas.

Here are some common misconceptions about divorce and family law and why they’re false:

#1 It’s Possible for One Spouse to Refuse the Divorce

Even if your spouse doesn’t agree, you can still obtain a divorce. California law states that you can still get a divorce “by default” even if the other spouse refuses or doesn’t participate. You don’t need a signature from your spouse for the divorce to be finalized in California.

#2 I Can Withhold Visitation if the Other Parent Hasn’t Paid Child Support

Legally, you cannot refuse the other parent visitation because they haven’t paid child support. Child support and custody are two separate matters, so visitation does not depend on whether or not the other parent has paid child support.

You also should not withhold visitation because it disrupts your child’s relationship with their other parent. Withholding visitation punishes your child who is not guilty and should not be prevented from seeing their other parent per the parenting plan.

#3 If One Spouse Committed Adultery, the Other Gets Everything

Division of property can be a complicated part of the divorce process. In California, if one spouse commits adultery, that does not mean that the other spouse automatically gets to keep everything.

In general, property acquired during the marriage will be split 50/50, but the court considers a wide variety of factors when deciding how property will be divided. An experienced divorce attorney can help you understand more about the division of assets in your situation during a divorce.

#4 Our Children Will Choose Who They Live With After the Divorce

Children in California do not get to choose who they will live with after the divorce. In most cases, the parents will agree on a parenting plan with the assistance of their attorneys. That parenting plan will state who the child will live with and when. The judge will approve the plan and it becomes a court order.

When parents cannot agree to a plan, the case may go to mediation. In either situation, the child will not choose who he or she lives with.

#5 You Can Only Get Divorced in California if You Were Married in California

This is not the case. As long as you have lived in California for six months and in the county where you are filing for divorce for at least three months, you can get a divorce in California.

If you have lived in your California county for less than three months and are pursuing divorce, you can get a legal separation. Once you meet the residency requirement, you can then file for divorce.

#6 Alimony Is Part of Every Divorce

Spousal support, also known as alimony, is not necessarily part of every divorce. One spouse may ask the judge for a court order for spousal support during the divorce process, but the judge doesn’t approve it automatically. There are many factors that the judge may consider when it comes to spousal support agreements.

Alimony and its tax implications are serious and complicated matters. Speak with an experienced family law attorney to learn more about how the law in California applies to your case.

#7 All Our Property Will Be Split 50/50

During a divorce, California law categorizes property as community (shared) property, separate property, or mixed community and separate property.

If you can agree to asset division with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, then you can decide who will keep what as long as the judge approves. If you can’t agree, then community property will be split as the judge sees fit. Separate property remains the property of the individual who it belonged to before the marriage or who received it separately during the marriage.

The division of mixed (commingled) property is extremely complicated. An experienced family law attorney can help you during this complex process.

How Legal Counsel Can Help

Navigating the legal procedures of a divorce or child custody arrangement on your own could end up costing you down the line. With the help of a knowledgeable family law attorney like Karen S. Brown, you can rest assured that your best interests are represented.

The Law Office of Karen S. Brown proudly represents families in Los Angeles County, Ventura County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, and the surrounding areas. Contact the firm today to schedule your free consultation.