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Family Law: Facts Vs. Fiction

There is a ton of misinformation going around about family law. Most of the time, the intentions behind this information are good. However, good intentions do not matter when bad information leads to legal mistakes.

At The Law Office of Shauna T. Hagan, LLC, we care about our clients, and we know the law. More than that, when someone spreads a false implication about the law, it can cause damage that can take even longer to clean up. Here are a few myths that tend to cause our clients the most confusion:

You Need To Be Married For 20 Years To Qualify For Alimony

Courts award alimony in Delaware, and most other states, based on need. If one spouse has financially supported the other while they were married, then that spouse would need support after the marriage ends. That doesn’t mean alimony is automatic, but it is not dependent on an arbitrary amount of time.

A Child Can Choose Where To Live

Where a child lives is a central sticking point in most divorces. However, if a child is old enough, people think they get to decide with which parent they’ll live. It’s much more complicated. Judges take many factors into consideration before deciding which parent gets primary custody. Can a child’s preference be one of those factors? Yes. Is it the deciding factor? Not usually.

You Can Get A Legal Separation

Many struggling couples think of separation as a legal “cool-down” period. In Delaware, there is no “legal separation.” However, to get a divorce in Delaware, one of the requirements is that the couple no longer lives together and has not lived together for six months.

For practical purposes, those six months are a separation, but it is not a legal relationship designation. Furthermore, there are binding “separation agreements,” but these simply dictate spousal support and custody arrangements during that predivorce separation period.

Separate Facts From Fiction

Most of these myths are fairly close to reality. The differences are complex. Family law, in general, is complex.

Attorney Shauna Hagan has spent a career working in and around just these sorts of complexities. If you wish to know the right way forward for your family law case, call our office in Wilmington today at (302) 321-6489 or email us.