Are you considering getting a divorce and are overwhelmed by all of the how-to articles and supplementary information on the internet? Beware of some things you read and hear, not everything is what it seems. However, the right family law attorney can bring clarity to the myths and assist you in taking the correct actions in those crucial moments.
1. Separating for a year is easy and I can get a low-cost divorce.
Sometimes. However, there are so many serious factors to consider: who stays in the home, who will pay the bills, where will the children live, what kind of visitation should the other parent have, how to divide the credit card or other debt, and how to divide retirement accounts, real estate, and other assets, for example. If you do not have a very specific agreement on all of these issues, it is very likely the court will not allow you to proceed without legal counsel.
2. My spouse is at fault for the breakup of the marriage. The court will punish him or her for it.
Family courts are courts of equity. This means, while the court is required to follow the written law relevant to the issues before it, the judge is also guided and authorized to decide the case in a fair and equitable way. Many times, however, the aggrieved spouse wants the court to punish the other spouse for the perceived wrong actions. The family court judge may consider wrong actions if it relates to alimony factors. The court will also consider wrong doings that affect the best interest of the children. But the court will not usually “punish” the other side for breaking up the marriage.
3. My spouse makes more money than I do so the judge will make him or her pay my attorney’s fees.
In South Carolina, a family court judge has the authority to award attorney’s fees. This includes the party who “won” or to the party who was awarded the relief they requested at court. However, while this may occur after a contested motion hearing, it usually only happens at the end of a case after a contested trial. To begin your separation or divorce correctly, you should hire an attorney. You will need to pay for the process until the end of the case; the end of the trial. If the judge awards your fees at the end of the trial, generally, you will get reimbursed only after the other side pays those court-ordered fees.
Stay tuned for more featured tips and information in the next months “Robin’s Rebuttal.” If you have questions or concerns about your personal situation, contact the team at McCutchen McLean today.
*We understand and hope that divorce is normally the last report, as it should be. I write these tips not to encourage the dissolution of a marriage, but to help you understand the separation or divorce process better. The end of a marriage can often be confusing and overwhelming. Teaching you what to expect, and working with you towards the desired resolution, is our goal.