Sometimes you can trust the advice of your friends. Want to know the best place to vacation this year? Your friends have plenty of ideas. Want to know where to get the best Chinese food in town? Your friends can probably tell you. When it comes to divorce though, don’t go to your friends for advice. Not only do they not know all the legalities of divorce, their responses will be biased based on how they feel about you. Trust the advice you get from your family law attorney, rather than these common divorce myths you might hear from your friends.

1. The Mother Automatically Gets Custody

It’s simply not true that the mother will automatically get custody. However, in many cases, both divorcing partners agree that the mother should be the primary caregiver. In cases where the spouses can’t agree, the judge will rule in the best interest of the child, which will depend on several different factors, but doesn’t always result in the mother getting custody.

2. Your Divorce Has to Happen in the State Where You Were Married

At least one spouse has to be a resident in the state where the divorce is taking place, but it does not have to happen in the state where you were originally married.

3. The Children Get to Choose Who to Live With

Courts rule on the gold standard of “what’s best for the child.” The wishes of the children are not automatically taken into account, especially if the children are young. However, the desire of older children may be considered in the decision, but this is not something you can always count on.

4. Engagement and Wedding Rings Become Marital Property

These pieces of jewelry are considered gifts, and because of that, they are not added into the distribution of marital property.

5. Expect to Go to Court

Only a small percentage of divorces end up in court. Most divorce cases are settled out of court. Family law attorneys will often work to avoid court as this adds to the expense of divorce while also hindering the chance for the best scenario for their client.

6. If You’re a Woman, Count on Alimony

In Texas, alimony, or spousal maintenance, is far from a given. Women who contributed to the marriage by staying at home and rearing the children and whose current job skills will make it hard to enter the workforce for gainful employment, may be awarded alimony. But a woman who is employed during the marriage may not get any alimony. Moreover, in Texas, to be eligible for alimony, spouses must have been married for at least ten years and the spouse seeking alimony must prove that he or she will lack sufficient resources after the divorce to meet her minimum reasonable needs. For more information about alimony, please visit this page.

7. Equitable Distribution Means You Both Get Half

Equitable does not mean equal. It means fair. The judge will take the financial situation of each spouse into consideration. This may mean one spouse gets the home, while another gets cash assets. It’s really up to the discretion of the judge.

8. Divorce Means You’re a Failure

Not at all! Sometimes things don’t work out. Sometimes something beyond your control is at play. Divorce does not automatically mean you’re a failure, but it is a good time to reflect and plan ahead because of this next myth.

9. Second Marriages are More Likely to Last

Not necessarily. The divorce rate for second marriages is actually higher than first marriages, so the experience you gained during your first marriage does not guarantee your second marriage will be better.

10. Divorce Is Always Ugly

It doesn’t have to be. While divorce will never be easy, it can be done without hatred or malice. A family law attorney with your best interest will help you to make decisions that are fair. When you keep an open mind, and avoid trying to break your spouse, you can go through the divorce process amicably or at least close to it anyways.

About the Author
Ben Carrasco is a highly skilled family law attorney based in Austin, Texas, known for his extensive expertise in family law and business litigation. While his primary focus is family law, Ben brings a wealth of experience in litigating diverse business disputes, ranging from breach of contract and collections to business torts, fraud, and real estate matters. In his family law practice, Ben navigates all aspects of the field, including divorce, child custody, support, property division, and more, offering clients expert guidance throughout the litigation process. His legal journey began in complex commercial litigation, initially with a global law firm and later with a prominent Austin-based firm. However, driven by a desire to make a direct impact on people's lives and embrace the human element of the law, Ben transitioned to family law, a decision that has proven to be deeply rewarding. A proud Austin native with roots in California, Ben completed his undergraduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley, before earning his law degree at Stanford Law School, where he excelled in legal writing and served as an associate editor of the Stanford Law and Policy Review.