May 7, 2007

Common Divorce Myths, Part I

Often people arrive at a family law attorney’s office with some preconceived notions about what will happen during their divorce proceeding. Sometimes these ideas come from friends or family who have gone through a divorce in another state, or from television, or from what they’ve heard or read online.

Sometimes these divorce myths are easy to dispel. For example, occasionally people will think that a jury is going to be involved in their case, because they’ve seen juries in movies or or on TV. In Oregon, a judge will make the final determination – that’s just the way it works. However, there are states in which a jury is sometimes involved in a divorce, like Georgia and Texas.

Another common myth: people think the court will want to know why the parties are divorcing – for example, if one person cheated, or stole, or simply abdicated their responsibilities in the relationship. Unfortunately, this isn’t something you’ll get to mention in your petition, because Oregon is a no-fault state. This means you don’t have to have a reason why you’re getting divorced: it’s enough to just say “enough!” and file the paperwork. That said, a court might be interested in the surrounding circumstances – the lying, cheating, and stealing — when it comes to calculating spousal support or in dividing up the parties’ property, though, and your lawyer may find an appropriate way to bring this evidence into the case.

In future posts, we’ll take a look at some of the other common divorce myths.