Five misconceptions about the Divorce/Custody Process

Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP

Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP

Everyone has a friend, relative, or co-worker who has been through a divorce. It is important to understand that not every divorce is the same! Just because your friend did not have to pay alimony does not mean you will not have to pay alimony. There are many misconceptions about the divorce process. Here are a few:

  1. I did everything during the marriage and therefore I should have the kids most of the time – The court has to consider 16 factors in determining a custody schedule, but there is no factor as to which parent was more involved during the marriage. In some families, there were different roles for each parent and when they are no longer living in the same household the Court will focus more on the ability to perform parental duties rather than which parent did so during the marriage.
  2. If I share custody I will not have to pay support – The parent who earns more money may have to pay the other parent child support even if they have a shared physical custody scheduled. Pennsylvania has support guidelines to calculate the amount of support based upon the parties net income or earning capacity
  3. The account is in my name so I get to keep it – Any property acquired during the marriage is marital property regardless of title. So if all assets are in one parties’ name, the other party is still entitled to a portion of those assets.
  4. My spouse cheated so she/he gets less – Infidelity is NOT a factor in how the Court divides assets. The cheating spouse could actually receive more than 50% of the marital assets based upon factors such as the disparity of income, length of marriage and ability to earn in the future.
  5. I want the engagement ring back! – The engagement ring is gift to the recipient and therefore not marital property.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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