When people divorce, they often have inaccurate information about the process. After all, much of the information people have come from TV, movies or divorced loved ones. It can be biased, misrepresented or sensationalised.
With this in mind, if you are going through a divorce, there are certain statements that you may not want to take at face value.
- “One person can walk away with nothing.” People often threaten to take every asset and dollar in a divorce. However, this is not the reality of property division in Ontario. Per Ontario property division laws, both parties in a marriage are entitled walk out with an equal share of the wealth that the couple accumulated during the marriage. (There are exceptions for sure. It’s complicated. Most people need legal advice.)
- “Mothers always get custody of a child.” This statement can give mothers a false sense of security and make fathers feel hopeless about their kids’ rights to enjoy a close relationship with both parents. And while it may have been true that mothers were all but assured primary custody at one time, that is not how it is anymore. That said, fathers still face unique obstacles when someone with outdated beliefs and assumptions is making decisions.
- “Divorces are bitter and lengthy.” While divorces can be contentious and drawn-out, in manycases, divorcing spouses can pursue a relatively peaceful, efficient settlement of their issues outside of court. Options like mediation can move the process along more quickly, cost less money and encourage parties to work together. (But do note this: not every case is suitable for mediation. A mediator cannot force a person to accept any particular deal.)
- “We should keep the lawyers out of this.” Even if your divorce seems straightforward, legal guidance can be crucial in helping you make informed decisions that protect your best interests. Without this guidance, people can make costly missteps that jeopardize a settlement or fail to understand what they may be entitled to or fail to realize the full consequences of what they are agreeing to.
- “It doesn’t pay to be nice.” Some people believe that parties must be brutal and unyielding to get what they want in a divorce. However, the fact is that when parties are combative and uncompromising, divorce-related matters can wind up in court where the outcomes are unpredictable. Being respectful can go a long way in securing a fair, satisfactory settlement. Being mean and nasty, can rightly have consequences.
Not only can these statements be untrue or misleading, but they can also cause people to make unfortunate choices that have long-lasting consequences. As such, parties should be wary of believing them.