5 Myths About Divorce, Debunked
Encouraging Truths Every Couple Should Know
The majority of the time, divorce isn’t a pleasant subject. It doesn’t take more than a few clicks online to unleash an avalanche of tips, tricks, and alleged facts about untying the knot. While some of this information is true and even helpful, there are various widely known “facts” about divorce that aren’t facts at all.
Whether you are preparing for your own divorce or supporting a friend or loved one through theirs, it’s important to have realistic expectations. As many of us already know, you can’t believe everything you hear…and you definitely can’t believe everything you read on the internet, as some online resources are misleading or untrue.
Ending a marriage can be one of the most stressful times in a person’s life. Roughly half of divorcing couples confess to feeling a sense of shame and failure as a result. Unfortunately, there are negative stigmas associated with divorce that contribute to the hardships involved. If you are struggling with negative thoughts or emotions during a divorce, you aren’t alone—and you don’t have to continue in shame. Keep reading to learn 5 encouraging truths about divorce.
5 Must-Know Truths About Divorce (That Aren’t Depressing)
Whether you and your partner are considering divorce or currently going through one, consider taking a break from depressing statistics or pessimistic attitudes. Keep reading to unlearn 5 of the biggest divorce myths circulating today.
Myth #1: 50% of American marriages end in divorce.
Most of us have heard this disheartening statistic repeated over and over…and over. Good news: it isn’t true.
This myth derives from projected numbers from the 1970s that never came to fruition. Not only is it based on outdated data from 50 years ago, but this common saying is also based on an estimated trend that never occurred in the first place.
So, what is actually true about our nation’s divorce rate? Here are a couple facts to know:
- The overall divorce rate has been in decline since the 1980s.
- The chance of divorce for Americans today is approximately 39%.
Many influencing factors are forgotten or overlooked when it comes to divorce, such as a person’s education, geographic location, and age population. If you’re in the process of ending your marriage, there’s no reason to feel like a failure or a walking statistic. It’s easy to get carried away with surface-level facts and figures, but the reality is that many Americans fail to realize the wide range of complexities when it comes to divorce.
At the end of the day, the risk of divorce cannot be reduced to a simple percentage. In the same way that every marriage is unique, the decision to end a marriage is unique, too. You and your partner are the only ones who truly understand the personal circumstances of your marriage from start to finish. It’s important to exercise self-compassion, prioritize your health, and validate any feelings you experience during and after divorce.
Myth #2: Divorcing your spouse is always an ugly battle.
Divorce has a tendency to invoke negative images in our brains—bickering couples, fierce stand-offs in court, fighting over custody, and the like.
While this exaggerated idea of a hostile divorce is commonly seen in TV shows and films, they’re less common in real life. Many couples are fortunate enough to end their marriage civilly and respectfully. While “messy” breakups can and do happen, amicable divorces aren’t uncommon.
Because Florida is a no-fault divorce state, couples aren’t required to give a reason why the marriage is over, such as infidelity or another act of wrongdoing that caused the breakup. This helps to minimize any drama, theatrics, or other antics involved with blaming or faulting one partner for a failed marriage.
Keep in mind that a contested divorce doesn’t necessarily mean that one spouse wants a divorce while the other does not. Sometimes, it’s as simple as a couple not agreeing on every single term of the divorce. On the contrary, an uncontested divorce means that you and your spouse agree to all details outlined in the divorce terms.
While amicable divorces are less represented in media than hostile ones, we can take heart in knowing such drama is often overstated. It is possible for couples to maintain support and respect for one another in the event of divorce.
Myth #3: A spouse who commits adultery loses everything.
Adultery is ranked as one of the leading causes of divorce today—and a common assumption many people jump to when they hear about a friend or loved one’s decision to separate.
Studies show that approximately 25% of married men and 15% of women have engaged in sexual relations outside of their marriage. When it comes to marital infidelity, there are two key things to keep in mind:
- Adultery does not always lead to divorce. While it’s common for people to assume that cheating equals divorce, not every couple views infidelity as an automatic end to the relationship. While infidelity can be devastating to any partnership, some married couples choose to tackle adultery as a challenge instead of an automatic divorce. In fact, some psychologists say that couples who choose to work through acts of adultery can strengthen their marriage and improve their intimacy in the long run.
- An unfaithful spouse doesn’t automatically lose everything. Assuming an act of infidelity derails a marriage, the adulterer doesn’t lose everything by default. Many people are under the impression that an adultery-fueled divorce means the cheater doesn’t get anything—the house, the kids, the money, the business. This isn’t the case.
It's important to understand that adultery doesn’t always influence divorce. This is especially true in no-fault states. The court will likely examine the matter as part of the bigger picture. Generally, infidelity plays a role in a divorce if sufficient evidence exists to prove that it negatively impacted the marriage.
Maybe a spouse drained funds to seduce a partner outside the marriage, or infidelity impaired their parenting ability. If visible or quantifiable harm ensued as a result of the adultery, the court will likely take it into consideration when determining matters like property division, alimony, or child custody.
Myth #4: Life sucks after divorce but gets better after [x] amount of time.
While it’s very common (and normal) for individuals to struggle after a divorce, this isn’t a universal truth. For some, the aftermath of a divorce is…well, positive.
This isn’t to say that adjusting to life post-divorce isn’t difficult, as each person will most likely encounter personal challenges after cutting ties. But pigeonholing divorcees into a single universal experience following a separation is unconstructive—and, quite frankly, unfair.
Even the most well-intentioned advice can be more hurtful than helpful. For some, divorce leads to positive change, such as:
- Ending a romance to preserve a friendship. Some people are better off as friends, and that’s okay.
- Gaining confidence or feeling more comfortable in your own skin. Change can be healthy for many of us. Transitioning to “single life” can have positive benefits on our wellbeing.
- Leaving a toxic or abusive environment. Approximately 20% of marriages involve a form of physical violence or abuse. For many individuals, returning to singledom via divorce is the only way to protect themselves and their children.
- Freeing both yourself and someone you love to find a better match. As cheesy as it sounds, endings can lead to new beginnings. If two partners are unhappily married, ending the marriage can lead to greater happiness and fulfillment post-divorce.
The timeline for healing also varies from person to person, making it all the more important to avoid putting a “tag” on divorce that imposes set timeframes, costs, or expectations.
Myth #5: Divorce inflicts long-term harm on children.
Divorce is often difficult for adults. So, naturally, it can be challenging for children, too. Today, many adults are children of broken homes, too, which can lead to a sense of caution or dread when the word “divorce” pops up.
It’s natural to want your kids to grow up in a happy and healthy home, especially if you didn’t have the opportunity to do so in your own childhood. However, ending your marriage doesn’t automatically mean your kids are worse off for it.
There are ways in which separation can actually benefit children in the long run, such as:
- Removing them from an abusive household
- Having a “fresh start” in a new town or school
- The chance to spend more quality time with one or both parents
- Growing up in a loving environment without frequent fights or yelling
Although living with one parent instead of two can be a difficult transition for kids and adults alike, this doesn’t mean that a divorce will doom your kids to lifelong trauma. If you are a recently single parent with concerns about your children’s wellbeing, there are healthy ways to prioritize their health and yours. Finding a good therapist, limiting negative talk about the coparent, and working together with your ex to create a safe and constructive space for children to grow are all examples of healthy strategies for divorced parents to support their kids.
Our Compassionate Attorneys Are Here to Help
Divorce is one of the most complex areas of family law. Ending your marriage is a life-altering decision, and you don’t have to walk that road alone. At Beaulieu-Fawcett | Newell Law Group, P.A., our exceptional divorce attorneys are committed to providing legal representation that is both compassionate and diligent.
If you’re going through divorce, don’t settle for less than exemplary legal representation. Call us at (561) 600-5711 to request a free case assessment today.