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Myths about divorce can confuse separating spouses

Virginia residents headed for divorce may receive a lot of advice from family members and friends based on their personal experience or that of their own loved ones. However, a number of common beliefs are not true. Correcting that information can help to protect the emotional and financial well-being of people in this situation.

Some of this incorrect information can center on dividing finances and other assets. For example, many people believe that simply giving up one's ownership interest in the marital home in a divorce settlement is sufficient to extinguish mortgage obligations. However, the lender is not a party to the settlement agreement, and it will be necessary to obtain an indemnification from the party who will stay in the home.

Many people believe that a pension is untouchable in divorce. While pension plans are subject to a federal law that protects them from third-party claims, even this law has exceptions. One of the most commonly used exceptions is the distribution of pension benefits as part of a divorce settlement. A qualified domestic relations order will have to be prepared, and it should be done by a family law attorney who has experience with this aspect of property division.

In addition, many people believe that they can quickly understand their child support obligations by reading the state's guidelines. While the information is indeed readily available to the public and is used to guide child support orders, these are merely guidelines. Each case is unique and courts will often vary from the guidelines when it is in the best interests of the child.

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