Like marriage, divorce is one of those subjects that everyone has an opinion about. And like marriage, there are a lot of myths out there about divorce. Is it really for the best? It is truly the only option when you just can’t seem to work things out with your spouse? What is its real effect on the children?
We gathered together a group of men and women, all of who had gone through or where getting a divorce. We asked them what was the biggest myth they believed about divorce, and what their reality was compared to this myth.
Let’s hear what they had to say:
“The biggest myth for me was people telling me I could do my own divorce,” Rhonda, 46, tells us.
“Sure, you actually can. But should you? No way! Even if you don’t have a lot of money, you should never represent yourself in a divorce. I reached out to free legal aid people for guidance, and then I found a lawyer who could represent me and take payments later.
If I had done my own divorce, I’m sure I would never have received child support or even part of my ex’s assets. I would never have known how to fight for these, or what my legal rights were.”
Tim, 50, share this with us: “I went through some hard times and fell behind on my child support payments. My ex told me that because I owed her money, she was going to take away my visitation rights. This was my biggest myth: you can’t deny parent visitation rights just because they aren’t paying child support.
My ex-tried to make me think this, but it isn’t true and it is against the law. Plus, it really shows that she didn’t have our children’s best interests at heart, by using them as a weapon against me. Thankfully I found out that I could continue to see them because cutting me off from them would have been horrible for us all.”
Quickie divorce is not so quick
“We’d been fighting for a long time, and when we finally agreed to a divorce, we wanted one as quickly as possible, “Diana, 37 says. “So we drove to Las Vegas because we’d heard a myth that you can get a quickie divorce there, a one-day thing.
Total myth! You actually have to be a resident of the state of Nevada for at least six weeks in order to get divorced there. So we wasted a trip to Vegas for nothing, and returned home to go through the normal waiting period for our divorce.”
“My ex-partner tried to get me to believe that the wedding and engagement ring he gave me which were both very expensive—was part of our shared property,” Janine, 60, shares with us. “Luckily my lawyer told me this is a myth. That jewelry, and other nice pieces he’d given me over the years are gifts from him to me, and as such, they do not have to be split between divorcing couples.
That said, I didn’t want to look at either my engagement ring nor my wedding ring once he left me, so I sold them both and took a fabulous cruise to the Bahamas.”
Second time lucky? Not always
“My biggest myth was that my second marriage was going to be more solid than my first, “said Bryan, 45. “Totally untrue.
The problems I had in my first marriage repeated themselves in my second marriage, and I ended up divorcing once again. And I just learned that over 60 per cent of second marriages ends in divorce, which is higher than the percentage of first marriages. I thought I’d learned something the second time around – I guess not.”
“It’s a myth to think it’s better for fighting parents to divorce rather than subject kids to constant yelling,” Maria, 37, states. “Everyone always says that kids will get through it and divorce doesn’t mean that they will end up unstable or unable to form relationships.
The truth is, divorce is traumatic for children, and shifting households to visit the divorced parents is hard on them. I know my kids would rather have mommy and daddy together and unhappy, then mommy living far from daddy but both of them happy with new partners.”
The idea of one big happy blended family doesn’t work for all
“I thought that forming a new family with my new husband and his children would be better for my own children than me raising them on my own,” says Tanya, 33. “But actually it’s been extremely stressful for my kids. This idea of one big happy blended family is a myth.
The kids do not necessarily get along, there’s a lot of jealousy and fighting, and my new husband and I spend most of our time trying to manage our collective children’s wounds and complaints, rather than focusing on building this new family dynamic in a healthy way. It’s been awful and I regret setting up a common household, really.
We should have just maintained two separate residences and seen each other for date nights and when our respective ex-spouses had the children.”
You can turn around a marriage with mutual efforts
“I truly thought divorce was the only way out of our unhappy marriage, “says Walter, 43. “We’d fallen out of love a couple of years ago and were just going through the motions for the children’s sake, you know? We’d even lined up our own lawyers and started divorce proceedings. But here’s my myth: you can turn around a marriage that is headed toward divorce court, but you have to work hard to do so.
We decided to give counseling one last, serious try. And we did it! It took us a year of counseling sessions, and a lot of homework, but we got our marriage back on track and out of the doldrums. Thank the Lord! I guess it took going to the edge of divorce to see that we needed to wake up and pay attention to healing our marriage.”