3 Myths About Divorce in South Dakota

As with any major life process, like divorce, there are "myths" about what happens during a divorce. This can often make the divorce process more difficult because the divorcing spouses may come to the table convinced that the outcome can only go one way. This is simply not true.

Here are three of the most common "myths" about divorce and why they're false. 

Myth #1 - Only Women Get Spousal Support

While this "myth" may have been somewhat true in the past because of traditional family roles, times are changing. Women are major players in the workforce. More men are stay-at-home dads. Spousal support is intended to provide support where there is a serious income imbalance when one spouse provides non-monetary support to the relationship instead of acting as the primary income provider. Today, there’s no guarantee that only the former wife will receive spousal support.

Myth #2 - The Mother Always Gets Custody

Similar to spousal support, the "myth" that the mother always gets primary custody of the children is no longer accurate. Under the law today, fathers no longer have a higher "custody mountain" to climb in court than mothers.

Myth #3 - Non-Payment of Child Support Limits Visitation

This is a common "myth" and it causes several problems. Child support is a completely separate issue from visitation. If a noncustodial parent does not pay child support, the custodial parent cannot withhold visitation. The reverse is also true - if a parent withholds visitation, that doesn’t authorize the noncustodial parent to withhold child support. Although both child support and visitation impact the children, they are two separate issues with different rules, and one has no bearing on the other. The appropriate sanction for failing to provide either child support or visitation is up to the court. 

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Brooke Swier Schloss
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Family Law and Estate Planning attorney helping families across South Dakota plan and protect their loved ones