7 Common Divorce Myths Debunked

Going through the divorce process is rarely easy. For most people, divorce is an emotionally, physically, and financially draining experience. If you appear to be headed toward divorce, you may have heard various things about the divorce process that make you even more apprehensive about the legal steps required to formally end your marriage. Sorting out facts from fiction helps when you are facing a divorce. Toward that end, a Murfreesboro divorce attorney at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby debunks seven common divorce myths.

  • Divorce is always contentious. People often assume that all divorces are acrimonious when, in fact, it is possible to get through theMurfreesboro divorce lawyer divorce process without turning the process into a full-blown battle. Since the purpose of a divorce is to legally end a marriage, the parties may not be on the best of terms; however, allowing your emotions to rule your actions during a divorce will only result in a more costly divorce, both in terms of time and money.
  • Mothers always get custody of the children. While it was once customary to award primary custody of minor children to the mother in a divorce, that custom has long since been abandoned. In fact, the term “custody” is no longer used. In its place, Tennessee law refers to the parent with whom the children live most of the time as the “Primary Residential Parent (PRP). The other parent is referred to as the “Alternative Residential Parent (ARP). The law prohibits a presumption in favor of either parent based on the sex of the parent. Instead, all contested issues relating to minor children are decided using the “best interest of the child” standard. 
  • We agree on everything, so I don’t need a lawyer. If there are no minor children and only modest assets, proceeding without an attorney in a divorce when the parties have reached an agreement resolving all issues may work. If children are involved, you have significant assets, or any issues are contested, it is in your best interest to consult with a divorce attorney.
  • Only women can get alimony. Historically, women were awarded alimony because the purpose of alimony is to provide one spouse with the resources to retain the standard of living that was enjoyed during the marriage. Today, however, a woman is just as likely to be the “breadwinner” in a marriage as a man is, meaning that men are now just as likely to be awarded alimony in a divorce.
  • “Equitable division” means assets are divided equally. Tennessee is an “equitable division” state when it comes to dividing assets in a divorce. Equitable does not always mean equal. If a judge is tasked with dividing assets in a divorce the goal will be to create a “fair and just” division, which may or may not be an equal division.
  • Children get to choose who they will live with post-divorce. If the parties reach an out of court settlement that includes the children’s preferences a judge will likely approve the settlement. If, however, a judge decides where the children will live, Tennessee law allows the judge to consider the “reasonable preference of the child if 12 years of age or older…and the “court may hear the preference of a younger child upon request.” Keep in mind that a judge is only required to consider an older child’s request, meaning the judge may or may not honor that request.
  • Divorce terms can be easily modified down the road. A final decree will be entered by the court at the end of your divorce proceedings. The terms within that decree are final orders of the court and should be treated as such. Consequently, you should not agree to terms under the belief that you can easily go back to the court and get the term modified after the divorce. On the other hand, it is possible to modify most terms in a divorce down the road. Terms related to parenting time, child support, and other child-related issues are often reviewed post-divorce. To modify any of the terms of your divorce, however, you will usually need to show a substantial change in circumstances that warrants the modification. 

Contact a Murfreesboro Divorce Attorney 

If you have additional questions about divorce in Tennessee, consult with an experienced Murfreesboro divorce attorney at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby as soon as possible. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your free appointment.


Dinah Michael