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Common Misconceptions About Divorce & Family Law

Shep Law Group Aug. 17, 2022

Families come in all shapes and sizes, and we all know how wonderful and complicated they can be. Changes in our families, like divorce, are more and more common, and when these transitions happen, we’re forced to radically alter our lives around them. 

At Shep Law Group, we’re committed to helping families in Boise and Meridian, Idaho, with their legal needs. Over the years, we’ve noticed many misconceptions about divorce and family law that need to be cleared up. If you have specific questions about these or other aspects of your divorce, call us today to set up a consultation. We also serve clients throughout Ada County, Canyon County, and elsewhere in the state. 

Six Common Misconceptions About Divorce & Family Law

1: If the other parent doesn’t pay child support, I can withhold visitation.

Once a child custody arrangement has been made, you should always follow it, even if the other parent hasn’t paid their child support. It is illegal for one parent to withhold visitation rights to another parent, except in extreme cases like suspicion of abuse or neglect. If one parent isn’t holding up their responsibility for paying support, you should contact the court to clear it up. By withholding visitation, you run the risk of losing your own parental rights.

2: It’s possible for one of the spouses to deny the divorce.

While one spouse can certainly delay a divorce from happening, they are not able to deny the divorce from occurring. You cannot legally force one person to stay married to another.

3: If adultery was involved, the other spouse gets everything.

Idaho is a “no-fault” divorce state which means that neither party needs to prove who was responsible for the marriage ending. However, a judge can occasionally grant a fault-based divorce grounded in adultery. In general though, adultery will not be a large factor in the division of assets unless it was found that the cheating spouse squandered the couple’s assets on their paramour. In this case, it would be fair to award more of the assets to the other spouse.

4: Alimony is a part of any divorce.

Alimony (also called “maintenance”) is never automatically awarded in a divorce. Instead, it is ordered by a judge to ensure both spouses are able to maintain a standard of living close to that of when they were married. It may also be awarded if spouses aren’t able to support themselves following a divorce (for example, if they were a stay-at-home parent or need to obtain more training or education). Alimony is almost always awarded on a temporary basis.

5: Our assets will all be split 50/50.

Idaho operates under community property laws, which states that any assets acquired during the marriage belong to both spouses. Unless otherwise decided between the couple or by a judge, it also means that this property will be divided 50/50. However, there are exceptions to this rule, such as assets that were acquired before the marriage which are considered “separate” property and do not need to be divided equally. 

6: The children get to choose who they will live with.

Deciding child custody after a divorce is always difficult, but only in rare cases will children get to decide who they live with. Unless the two parents decide on their own arrangements, child custody orders will be handed down by a judge in a way that serves the best interests of the child. In most cases, this means that both parents will continue to see their children regularly. However, a judge may consider a child’s preference if they are deemed mature enough, but this will only be one factor in their decision. 

Don’t Face This Alone

Divorce and other family law matters deserve the utmost attention and professional legal skill. If you need a family law attorney and you live in Boise, Meridian, Ada County, Canyon County, or anywhere in Idaho, contact us today at Shep Law Group.