5 Common Misconceptions About Family Law

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The attorneys at GillespieShields practice family, employment, civil, criminal, probate, appellate, and immigration law.

We all know that family law is complicated. With so many laws and cases to take into account, it’s easy for us to misconstrue what can happen in a divorce or custody battle. Here are 5 common misconceptions about family law topics you may have heard of before:

1. In Divorce Cases, The Court Gives Preference To Women

The court does not favor women or men over the other in family law cases, including divorce proceedings. Each case is unique and it will be up to a judge to decide who receives child custody of any children involved, spousal support (if there are sufficient grounds) and how property is split between parties if they cannot come to an agreement on their own.

  • It has even been suggested that sometimes, fathers may actually benefit more from certain parenting arrangements than mothers do with sole physical custody—for example when overnight visitation was awarded but no additional time with the children during weekdays where he would have had them for longer periods without his ex present. This way each parent gets some quality alone time while still having shared responsibility for the children.
  • On the other hand, there is evidence to show that in general women often benefit more from sole custody arrangements than men because of a perception among judges and juries that mothers are inherently better caregivers and should be given priority over fathers (even when it comes to nonprimary caregiving roles like working outside the home or earning an income). There have been cases where this has actually led to lawsuits against individual parents who were awarded sole custody even though neither parent was deemed unfit just for being female.

2. Child Support Is Necessarily Paid By Fathers

    Child support payments can be made by either party regardless of gender. However, according to the historical statistics of the Census bureau, custodial parents have become more likely to be fathers over the past 24 years, increasing from 16.0 percent in 1994 to 20.1 percent in 2018.

    Many believe that child support is always paid by fathers, but this isn’t true either. The custodial parent of a minor child has more than one option for collecting child support payments from non-custodial parents regardless of gender. According to Census Bureau statistics on family law, mothers are more likely to receive alimony/spousal support payments in court cases involving divorce or separation with only about 20% of all cases ending up with fathers paying spousal support.

    Spouses can also pay each other temporary maintenance during legal proceedings which often happens before any final orders are placed regarding payments. It’s not just mothers who benefit from these types of arrangements, either. In 24% of child support cases in the United States, fathers are receiving payments from mothers.

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    3. The Person Who Took Out The Loan Is Responsible For Repaying It

    Not necessarily. It makes perfect sense to assume that the person who takes out a loan is responsible for paying it back, but there are some exceptions. For example, if one party entered into an agreement with another without being told about the loan or not having any knowledge of its existence then they may be able to get away from repaying it unless they were aware of it at the time of signing whatever documents were necessary for this transaction.

    Another scenario would be when someone took out a loan before getting married and didn’t disclose this information during marriage negotiations which could cause issues down the line in divorce proceedings as well as other financial matters related to family law disputes.

    4. Families Are Not Always The Best Place To Look For Support In An Emergency

    This is definitely a common misconception about family law, but it’s just that—a myth. Families often have bad memories associated with them whether related to their experiences or those of others and they can sometimes feel like more trouble than they’re worth as far as personal problems go. 

    However, there is no better way to deal with serious legal issues such as running into financial difficulties which could lead to losing homes and other property if someone has enough foresight before things get too out of hand. Family members may be able to provide loans or help pay off some debt so that borrowers don’t lose everything through repossession without having first exhausted all other options including bankruptcy proceedings.

    In many cases, family members can provide a faster and easier alternative to filing for bankruptcy since the process takes so long. In some states, it could take longer than a year or even two before someone has their debts cleared through this method of debt relief which is where friends and family come in as an option that’s more likely to be available quickly if they’re willing to help. 

    This means there are no shortcuts when it comes to dealing with financial challenges, although people often try these methods first because they seem simpler at first glance rather than going straight towards the most effective solution from the beginning.

    5. Asset Division Is Not Applicable To Properties Registered As Sole Proprietorships

    In family law, no matter if the property was registered in the sole name of one party or jointly between two parties; assets will still be divided according to certain factors such as contribution and financial needs.

    Another myth that people believe with regards to family law is that Assets with Joint Registration Are Divided Equally upon Divorce.

    In most cases where there is joint registration on properties like condominiums and houses, each party might own 50% shares but whether it is awarded equally depends on the discretion of the judge due to various circumstances involved in every case which cannot simply be generalized into percentages. 

    Also note that even though your matrimonial home has been acquired during marriage using only your spouse’s money, the court will still consider that you had contributed to its accumulation.

    With so much misinformation out there it can be hard to know what is true and not. It may seem like the court always favors women in divorce cases, but that’s just because men are more likely than women to initiate legal proceedings. Child support isn’t only paid by fathers either- mothers pay child support too! And while families provide a lot of emotional and financial support for each other, they also have their limitations. For example, you should never use your family as an emergency fund or rely on them for help if you’re facing bankruptcy. Finally, assets registered as sole proprietorships aren’t subject to asset division when splitting up property with your spouse in most states. If you need more information, don’t hesitate to call us today!


    Are You Looking for a Family Law Attorney You Can Trust?

    The attorneys at GillespieShields are well-versed in a variety of different legal fields, ranging from family law to civil suits, employment disputes, and probate cases. Although we specialize in several areas of practice, our greatest passion is family law. We believe in giving families peace of mind no matter their situation, and we fight hard to maintain that peace. Whether you’re filing for dissolution or divorce, determining custody of your children, or thinking about adopting children, our experienced attorneys are here to help you every step of the way.  During our private, one-on-one consultation, we’ll take the necessary time to answer all of our questions surrounding Arizona’s family laws, your family’s unique situation, and the possible court outcomes. Contact us today for your consultation!


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