If you’ve never been divorced before, what you do know about it was probably gained through experience as a child of divorce or through hearing stories from friends and family. As someone who is facing a divorce, there are a few things that you should definitely know from the start. To that end, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most shocking things about divorce.
Read on and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our Orange County divorce firm for a case evaluation!
1. Snooping on a spouse’s phone is illegal.
When a spouse suspects that their husband or wife is cheating, usually the first thing they do is get ahold of their spouse’s phone to scroll through their text messages, emails, and social media accounts.
The thing is, spouses are protected by federal privacy laws. Much of the evidence found on a smartphone is inadmissible in court if it violates the cheating spouse’s privacy rights. Unless the cheater made a public incriminating post on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, a judge will likely refuse to look at the digital evidence.
2. Cheating doesn’t usually impact a divorce.
California is a no-fault divorce state, which means spouses can get divorced simply because they want to. They do not need to prove marital misconduct, such as adultery or cruel and inhumane treatment like some other states.
So, for cheaters, most judges will have zero interest in hearing about the affair unless it involved the dissipation (waste) of marital assets. In other words, adultery does not usually impact spousal support or child custody in California. The one exception is domestic violence; an abusive spouse may not be entitled to spousal support because of spousal or child abuse.
In rare cases, cheating can impact child custody if the adulterous spouse somehow neglected the children because of their affair; for example, a cheating mother left her children home alone so she could sleep at her boyfriend’s house overnight.
3. Revenge spending can hurt you.
If a spouse gets angry at their husband or wife and maxes out the couple’s credit cards out of revenge, a judge can order that spouse to be fully liable for the debt. Not only does revenge spending hurt both of your credit, but you can also be on the hook for all of it.
4. Spousal support is not guaranteed.
Contrary to popular belief, spousal support is not automatic in all California divorces. Instead, it is awarded on a case-by-case basis, that is if the couple does not agree on it.
5. Kids don’t choose which parent to live with.
There is a common misconception that once a child reaches the age of 12 or 13, he or she can choose which parent to live with. Children do not choose which parent to live with, but a judge will want to listen to their wishes and their reasons for or against a parent. Only judges have the power to make child custody decisions – not children.