In a recent interview, top family lawyer Paul McMahon, partner at Breud, McMahon & Firestone PLLC in Commack, New York, has just revealed common misconceptions about divorce. —
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“When it comes to divorce, it seems that everyone wants to offer advice, a lot of which is incorrect. When seeking to divorce your spouse, consult a legal counsel experienced in family law to avoid running the risk of basing significant life decisions on bad advice,” McMahon said.
Probably one of the most widespread misconceptions, McMahon said, is that all assets are up for grabs if one spouse has committed adultery.
When asked to elaborate, McMahon commented, "Adultery is only one potential factor to consider when it comes to divvying up assets. If there is a history of wasting joint assets, spending money on adulterous relationships, abusive behavior, drug or alcohol abuse, fraud, deceit, hiding assets, or other bad behavior, it will all be considered as part of a potential disproportionate division of assets in favor of the innocent spouse.”
The myth that couples can only file for divorce in the state they married makes many people put off the divorce process, according to McMahon.
“Each state has residency requirements that you must reach before filing for divorce, such as living in a state continuously for a certain number of months. Speak to a legal counsel who is knowledgeable of local family law to learn your state’s residency requirements for divorce. The state or country where the marriage ceremony was held is irrelevant.”
Another common misconception is that both partners must agree to the divorce for it to happen.
When asked to explain, McMahon commented, “This is a long-held misunderstanding about divorce. While a hesitant spouse might try to convolute or delay the process, you still have a legal right to get a divorce if you want one.”
Many couples delay following through with a divorce because they assume that they will have to sit in a courtroom trial.
“Only about 5% of divorce cases ever reach a final trial. The majority of cases are settled either through negotiation or mediation prior to any trial, including all issues regarding the division of marital assets and child custody. If everyone is in agreement, you’ll still have to obtain final approval from a judge, but the ugly, mud-slinging court battle will not occur and the damage to the family will be significantly minimized,” McMahon said.
The notion that children are allowed to choose who to live with is another common divorce myth.
“If a child custody arrangement hasn’t been agreed to, then a judge will decide this for you. The judge will take several factors about the best interests of the child into consideration when determining custody. An older child’s choice will be considered, but only as one of many factors,” he added.
Name: Paul McMahon
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Organization: Breud McMahon & Firestone, P.L.L.C.
Address: 356 Veterans Memorial Hwy #3, Commack, NY 11725, USA
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