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Don’t get caught up in common divorce myths: Get an attorney

The No. 1 rule of any divorce ought to be “Don’t trust advice from anyone except your attorney.”

In particular, certain pieces of advice can actually end up hurting you if you fall into the trap of believing they’re true:

1. You can figure out how much child support you’re going to get (or owe) by looking up the formula online.

Not even close. While the guidelines for each state are available online, every state has quirks that don’t fit in a computerized chart.

Judges are generally allowed to deviate from the state’s support guidelines when doing otherwise would be unfair — which means the $300 a week you expected could be cut down to $300 a month.

On the other hand, your attorney may be able to prove that your spouse’s reported income is substantially lower than his or her actual income — which would substantially increase the amount of child support he would have to pay.

2. You can pay off your half of the debt on the credit cards and be done with them.

If only it were that simple! As far as the credit card companies are concerned, they don’t care who ran up the bill or who paid half the tab already — they’ll come after anybody whose name is on the cards.

The same goes for the house. If you quitclaim the property to your home, you won’t own it — but you’ll still owe for it as far as the bank is concerned until your name is no longer on the mortgage.

Don’t let these and other divorce myths make your life harder. In fact, you can often make divorce easier by looking into a collaborative divorce where you and your spouse try to work out the details of your separation without the court’s involvement. It’s a great way for people to regain a measure of control over their lives as they’re starting over.

For more information on how our firm may be able to help you with a collaborative divorce, please visit our page.