Common Myths of Family Law

Myth: Parties are automatically divorced once the parties have been separated for one year

Truth: A party can generally begin the process of forcing a divorce after one year of separation

Myth: All assets and debts are divided up

Truth: The Court adds up all the marital assets and subtracts out the marital debts to determine the net marital estate. The Court then divides this by some percentage figure.

Myth: Leaving the marital residence may bring abandonment charges.

Truth: Leaving the marital residence can have many economic and custody consequences and should be discussed with your attorney. There is no such thing as abandonment in Pennsylvania and you will not lose your economic rights to the house by leaving.

Myth: The child(ren) can choose where they want to live at a certain age.

Truth: The child(ren)'s custody situation is always determined by their best interests and not their choice. However, as the child(ren) get older they can testify or be part of a psychological evaluation.

Myth: Having an affair can affect equitable distribution or custody.

Truth: Affairs are not a factor in equitable distribution or in custody. Affairs are one of the many factors in alimony but are rarely important.

Myth: Shared custody means no child support.

Truth: Shared custody can involve child support if the parties have unequal incomes.

Myth: There is no alimony in Pennsylvania.

Truth: Alimony exists in Pennsylvania and is granted, denied, or limited by a number of factors.