You often hear about highly combative divorces in which everyone involved suffers — but the reality is that many of the things that people believe about divorce just aren’t true. If you are aware of the major misconceptions surrounding divorce, you’ll know more about what to expect when you sit down to discuss your case with a lawyer. Here are the most common misconceptions involving California divorces today.
Misconception 1: Who is at Fault Matters
Many people believe that if one spouse is at fault — for example, in cases of infidelity, that the offending spouse will have to pay spousal support or give up more assets to the spouse who feels wronged. However, California is a no-fault divorce state. One category for divorce is “Irreconcilable differences” which is the legal basis for virtually all divorces in the state, although there can be other rarely-used grounds like permanent legal incapacity to make decisions.
In the Court’s eyes, both people are victims when they are divorcing. The specifics of who did what does not matter in terms of money or assets. The bottom line is that the court does not have the time or resources to spend on assigning blame.
Misconception 2: Litigation is Necessary
Many people assume they have to go to court to get a divorce. In reality, if both you and your spouse are willing to go through mediation or Collaborative Divorce, you can handle the whole divorce outside the court system.
While the court must approve the settlement agreement, its contents are really up to you and your spouse. In a mediation and in Collaborative Divorce, you have control of the calendar for moving toward a settlement and you can use advisors with whom you both are comfortable. You can even have divorce coaches to help you through the emotional aspect of the divorce.
The court will issue the final divorce decree. That is basically the extent of the court’s involvement if you use the mediation process or collaboratively handle your divorce.
Misconception 3: Judges Are Influenced by Gender
One common misconception is that judges are influenced by the gender of the people in their court. Male judges and female judges are not more likely to align with their own gender. In fact, there are some judges who can be very tough on their own male or female equivalent.