Debunking 7 Leading Divorce Myths

December 3, 2015

The decision to end a marriage is rarely an easy one to make. It doesn’t help the situation to have people you know and care about ¾or people you don’t really know at all, even¾ reminding you about all of the terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad things that come from divorce. You’ve probably heard them all before, and then some, and maybe even second-guessed your decision to end your marriage. But, ultimately, in the end, what matters most is that you make the best decision for you, your family, and the situation at hand. Sometimes, that means divorce.

If you’re seriously contemplating divorce, or are in the process of doing so, it’s time to start hearing the other side to some of those common myths. Then, when you’re fully informed, you can make the best decisions regarding your marriage and family. Below are seven common divorce myths and the alternative perspectives that could help you through the decision-making process.

  1. There’s no such thing as a friendly divorce. FALSE. Divorce is usually a very difficult, emotional experience. If you’re ending your marriage, it’s usually because your relationship was rough or no longer manageable. Fortunately, there are ways to help your divorce go smoothly with minimal heated contention or animosity. Terms like conscious uncoupling or divorce with dignity have been used to describe marriages that end yet attempt to keep peace, respect and dignity within the family. Mediation helps couples attempt to amicably and fairly divide assets, determine child custody arrangements, and other marriage related concerns. You don’t have to like each other or love each other. But, with the right resources, it’s possible to end your marriage with as little conflict as possible.
  2. You can deny your spouse a divorce if you don’t want it. FALSE. Because Ohio is a no-fault divorce state, getting a divorce only requires one spouse to file. Although there are a few reasons that you may be able to contest a divorce, the truth is, if your spouse requests a divorce, you may be able to stall the proceedings at best. Once you receive official divorce papers, you’ll have some deadlines to meet for signing and returning the paperwork to the necessary authorities. But, unless your spouse rescinds the request, there isn’t much you can do to avoid a divorce.
  3. Couples who have large, expensive weddings are more likely to get divorced. The statistics on this myth are slightly misleading. Although some studies over the last few years have found that couples who spend excessive amounts of money on expensive rings and outlandish weddings also have a higher likelihood of divorce, the correlation is not as clear-cut. It’s not so much that fancy weddings and huge engagement rings lead to divorce, but rather the implications that the financial burden of debt at the start of marriage, and the emphasis of an “event” rather than a “marriage” itself, bear a far greater impact on divorce rates. So, if you’ve found The One and you have the money to spend, don’t worry so much about how much to spend on your wedding.
  4. One-in-two marriages end in divorce. The whole fifty percent of marriages end in divorce figure has been around for some time now in America, and continues to prove itself more misleading. To make a very complicated issue a bit more simple to grasp, we’ll just agree that there are numerous contextual factors including methodology, sample size, demographics, timing, etc that can affect the outcome of a study. This stat was one of those over-generalized situations where a complicated issue was simplified down to a single percentage to try and prove a point.  Although there isn’t a clear answer as to what the exact divorce rate is, most sociologists and scholars estimate that the true percentage lies somewhere between 30 and 40 percent.
  5. Being “unhappy” or “not in love anymore” is a sign that it’s time for divorce. If you’re seriously considering divorce, it’s important to understand that feeling “out of love” may not be the best reason for calling it quits. Feelings come and feelings go. And while your spouse may have slacked off in the romantic department, a few simple acts could change those feelings in a heartbeat. There are many very valid reasons for getting divorced, but not being “in love” should not be the top of your list. Divorce is a life-altering decision that can be extremely complicated, stressful, and expensive. Think seriously about why you want to end your marriage and whether or not there are steps you can take to salvage your marriage before ending it permanently.
  6. Children suffer worse because of divorce. While it is true that divorce can have devastating effects of children, sometimes, the alternatives are far worse. In some cases, a divorce truly is the best option for your family. Is your spouse abusive, neglectful, or dangerous? Is your home a place on hostility, anger, and instability? A family home life that is burdened with such turmoil can be sometimes be more harmful to children than an actual divorce ever could be. It’s important that children be witness to healthy forms of conflict resolution, problem solving, and decision-making. In some cases, a divorce is the best way to accomplish this.  If you are getting divorced, there was ways to make the process more amicable for you both and less traumatic for your children. Divorce doesn’t have to be the end of the world for your family.
  7. I can deny my ex visitation rights if he/she doesn’t pay child support. FALSE. These are two separate issues that do not directly relate to each other. As you go through your divorce ¾ and in the days, weeks, months, and years after¾ it’s important to remember that if your ex decides not to pay child support for whatever reason, that is an issue for the courts to deal with. It is your responsibility to handle visitation agreements in accordance with the court’s recommendations. You can always request for visitation rights to be changed through the courts.

Deciding to divorce can be one of the most challenging, consequential choices you’ll ever have to make. If you’ve found yourself in this place, you certainly aren’t taking this decision lightly. Hopefully, shedding some light on the truths of these common divorce myths can help you make the best, most educated decision regarding your marriage and family’s future.

If you’re in need of legal advice concerning divorce in northwest Ohio, Michael E. Bryant is here to help. Contact his office today for compassionate, comprehensive, and confidential counsel to get you through your divorce.