Reality Check: Do You Have Unrealistic Expectations in Your Divorce?

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Despite being a touchy subject, divorce is an openly-talked about the subject matter. You see it as a plot device in one of your favorite movies. You watch it unravel sometimes in reality shows. You get its juiciest details in entertainment news. And then, of course, you have an aunt or an uncle who couldn’t stop themselves from ranting their own relationship woes over at your weekend family reunions. It’s not surprising then that you’re going through your own divorce with a set of expectations already. The problem is, these are often unchecked assumptions, which can further make this big life transition a bit more stressful for you. Watch out for these unrealistic expectations you may have:

The divorce shouldn’t take long.

In most movies, divorce only takes a couple of weeks. In one scene, you see the courtroom drama, and then the next, you watch the protagonist happy and giddy, satisfied with the judge’s decision. That whirlwind divorce, unfortunately, happens on TV only. Real-life cases last for months, with the exact duration depending on so many factors, including if the state you live in has a cooling-off period, if this is a case of uncontested divorce or not, if you have very valuable assets and businesses, if there’s a lot of tension in child custody, and the list goes on. The bottom line is, a long, grueling process is what you should expect, and not a quick one. That said, make sure to work with a reliable lawyer to learn more about your state’s process on divorce.

I will get half the total of our assets.

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Yes, this happens, but only rarely. In some states, the court doesn’t necessarily follow the equal distribution of property, but rather an equitable division. ‘Equitable’, meaning what’s fair to the parties involved. And like the duration of a divorce, this depends on a lot of factors. In Colorado, for instance, the court considers the contribution of each spouse to the property, even that of the party who took on the homemaker role. The financial status of each spouse at the time of the division will also be assessed. Sometimes, the court awards the family home to the spouse who will be with the children most of the time, as child-rearing can significantly affect economic circumstances. Additionally, the judge will take note of the increases and decreases in value of the separate property of each spouse. If you live in Denver, Co, family attorneys can walk you through the asset division more thoroughly. Go find a team who has a lot of experience in property division matters.

I’ll win because my spouse cheated.

Most people think that because their ex messed up big time, they will receive the favor of the court. It sounds like the natural course of things. But in the eyes of the law, that’s not necessarily the case. For instance, in some states, judges don’t consider infidelity in their decision in property division matters. In fact, there are statutes that prohibit taking misconduct into account in asset distributions cases. The common exception here though is when the unfaithful spouse caused a significant decline in the marital assets to support the affair they were engaging in. But even then, it’s quite difficult to prove cheating in divorce cases, as it generally involves you producing evidence that your spouse had sexual intercourse with another person.

Beware of Unrealistic Expectations

You may think that you know a lot about divorce, given that you’re a fan of courtroom drama and celebrity break-ups. But it’s likely that you have unrealistic expectations, and they could be the reason you’re all the more stressed out in this whole transition. Straighten out these assumptions. Do a reality check every now and then.

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