This morning I received another "my neighbor says" e mail. Everyone seems to be an expert on divorce because they either have been divorced, know someone who has been divorced or their hairdresser knows someone who has been divorced. There are certain myths that keep making the rounds. Even my professional family law lawyers list serve occasionally gets a question from a novice lawyer who believes some of these myths. So here goes:
Myth: A minor can choose which parent he or she lives with when he or she is 14 (or 15 or 12 or 16) The correct answer is 18 -- the age of majority in this state.
Myth: The judge will ask the kids where they want to live. Fact -- the children will never be called upon to testify and the judge does not want to talk to them. The children's preferences are heard through an intermediary, typically a Guardian ad Litem (GAL)
Myth: If you move out of the house it will be considered abandonment and you will lose all rights to the asset. Again, correct answer is NO. All assets are considered and available for division, even if the person moved out of the house.
Myth: If you have an affair you will lose custody of the children. Fact -- it is how you behave as a parent that will factor in the custody determination. (Incidentally, we no longer use the word custody, it is a parenting plan)
There are many more myths I hear and a few of them are even true. I would love to answer your questions. Either post to this blog or send me an e mail and I will answer directly or in a future posting.