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Recognizing fact from fiction in a divorce

Ohio residents who are ending their marriage might find themselves the recipients of advice from family and friends. While most people mean well, those involved in the actual divorce need to be able to sort the facts from the fiction, which might help make the entire process less stressful.

One common misconception is that both spouses can be represented by one lawyer as a way to save in legal fees. In fact, a lawyer is only able to represent one of the spouses and the other spouse would be self-represented. This might result in more expensive financial decisions later on. Another common misconception is that spouses can figure out child support by themselves through their state's child support guidelines. While the information can be found, judges often vary from them depending upon the circumstances.

There are also misconceptions about what is admissible in court. For example, many people think that a no-fault divorce means a spouse's misconduct cannot be brought up in court when determining financial issues. However, judges do use this to determine spousal support, particularly if there was severe misconduct or if marital funds were diverted.

Some spouses might also think that their retirement account is protected from the division of assets under ERISA. However, federal law makes an exception for pensions, which can be divided during a divorce. Finally, there is also a belief that transferring ownership of a home takes away the responsibility for paying the mortgage. This is not true, as lenders are not bound by a settlement agreement. The loan would have to be refinanced.

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