Myths Surrounding Men and Divorce
Under Illinois law, gender is not a factor that should be considered when deciding a divorce case; however, some may fear that the decisions made during divorce will favor their ex-spouse, and they will want to understand their rights and the best ways to achieve success during the divorce process. Below are some of the biggest myths that still surround men and divorce and the truth behind them:
When Men Do Not Pay Child Support, They Cannot See Their Child
Fathers may worry that if they fall behind on child support payments, the mother may be able to refuse to allow them to spend time with their child. Fortunately, this is not the case. There are serious consequences for not paying child support, including being held in contempt of court. However, the courts view child custody and child support as two separate issues, and a mother cannot punish a father for non-payment of child support by restricting parenting time. If a parent withholds visitation because their ex-spouse did not pay child support, she/he can face serious consequences themselves.
Mothers Are Always Awarded Primary Child Custody
This is perhaps the biggest myth surrounding men and divorce. Although it is true that at one time, the courts were more likely to award child custody to mothers, this is no longer the case. Today, decisions about child custody are based on what is in the child’s best interests. The gender of the two spouses has nothing to do with child custody hearings. Instead, courts will consider factors such as the health of the parents, the children’s wishes, and how parents acted in the past when providing care for their children.
Women Are Automatically Awarded Maintenance
There was a time when women were usually awarded alimony, or spousal maintenance, as part of divorce proceedings. However, this was also at a time when women often stayed home to raise children. As a result, divorce often placed them in serious financial hardship because they had relied on their spouse’s income for so long and had no savings of their own.
Today though, that has certainly changed. The man is not always the sole breadwinner for a family, and in fact, fathers sometimes stay home to take care of the children. As with child custody, there are a number of factors the courts will take into consideration when determining whether to award maintenance, and gender is not one of them.
Men Usually File for Divorce First
The origins of this myth are unknown. In fact, statistics show that women are more likely to start the divorce process. The truth is, however, that the identity of the party who files the initial divorce petition will typically not have an effect on divorce proceedings. Filing for divorce first does not provide an advantage, and both parties will be able to petition the court to address their ongoing needs during the divorce process.
Get Advice From a Barrington Divorce Lawyer
There are many myths surrounding divorce, and these can cause unnecessary fear among men who are looking to protect their rights when ending their marriage. Dedicated Inverness divorce attorney Nicholas W. Richardson can help you understand your rights, dispel the many myths surrounding divorce, and work with you to determine the best ways to proceed with your case. Call our office today at 847.873.6741 to schedule your free consultation.