Divorce: Fact vs Fiction

Nearly everyone knows someone who has gone through the process of a divorce. Divorce proceedings involve intimate details about familial relations and, as such, they often find themselves pouring into the rumor mill.

Neighbors, family, and friends often tell tall tales and exaggerated examples of other neighbors, family, and friends who have gone through a divorce. This leads to many people having misconceptions about the divorce process as a whole.

These rumors can be particularly confusing because the divorce process is unique to every family. What is experienced by one couple is not necessarily going to be the situation another divorcing couple goes through.

Here are some popular myths about going through a divorce.

WHOEVER ASKS FOR THE DIVORCE FIRST HAS MORE POWER

The first spouse to initiate the divorce proceeding is referred to as “the petitioner.” This is simply because they are the spouse that files the petition for divorce. Many people believe that the court favors the petitioner. This is partially because of an outdated process of fault-based divorce.

However, as Minnesota no longer relies on a system of one spouse blaming another for fault in order to secure a divorce, this myth is false. In fact, the only advantage to filing a petition before your spouse is when the spouses are already living in different counties. The petitioner decides the county in which to file for divorce and therefore controls the location of the proceedings. Of course, the respondent, upon showing good reason, may be allowed to change the location.

LEAVING THE HOME MAY BE SEEN AS ABANDONMENT

Many people believe that moving out of the marital home will lead the court to award the home to the remaining spouse. This is also somewhat of a remnant of the fault-based divorce system; abandonment, at one time, was grounds for the remaining spouse to file for divorce.

Nowadays the court will decide which spouse is awarded the home based in equity, or fairness, to both parties. The court is more likely to award both spouses the cash value of the home, or make up for one spouse receiving the home by awarding the other spouse additional marital property.

If you do leave the marital home it is advisable that you document the property that is in the home so that your soon-to-be-ex-spouse does not claim that anything are missing or that you have taken something.

TITLE IS CONTROLLING IN PROPERTY DISPUTES

Divorces often include a court determination of who will get what in regards to the couple’s property. Many people believe that whomever holds title to a particular piece of property will always be the recipient of that property. This is simply not the case. Any piece of property that was obtained by either spouse during their marriage is marital. Non-marital property includes property acquired prior to the marriage, inheritance, or a gift directed at only one spouse. Non-marital property is not subject to division by the court.

At the Kohlmeyer Hagen Law Office we are experienced advocates for spouses going through a divorce. If you have questions regarding your divorce proceedings, contact our offices today.

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