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Divorce: discerning conventional wisdom from facts

North Carolina couples contemplating or experiencing divorce may be given the wrong advice from friends and family who mean well, but who are not knowledgeable about state laws or the realities of divorce. Here are some fictitious ideas regarding divorce, and the truth behind each one.

One opinion about divorce is that parents should insulate their children from it. This opinion is false because it is not possible to insulate any child from divorce, except for a very young child. Besides, because divorce affects their home life, children need help understanding why it is happening, and how they can deal with it.

Another false opinion is that a divorcing spouse can state that the other spouse is responsible to pay off the home mortgage because he or she gave up ownership interest in the divorce settlement. However, just because one spouse decides to transfer his or her ownership interest in the home, he or she remains liable to make mortgage payments unless that spouse includes a statement in the divorce settlement agreement that the other spouse is exclusively accountable for the related debt. Then, under the hold harmless or indemnification clause, if that spouse defaults on a payment, and the other spouse covers it, the defaulting spouse must reimburse the other spouse.

Often, divorce becomes a complicated matter when couples argue about child custody and assets. Couples who are considering a divorce might want to contact an attorney who is aware of state laws. Although a lawyer may not represent both parties in a court divorce proceeding, mediation is one way to settle a divorce that involves one lawyer.