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Divorce is an emotional time. That makes it a great source of conflict in the movies and TV. However, the average divorce is nowhere near dramatic enough to make good entertainment. That’s why the media makes fictional divorces seem much harder than they are in real life.

In fact, the media may have led you to believe some lies about divorce that are making you unnecessarily nervous. Here are five of the most common divorce myths perpetuated by the movies compared with reality.

Lie #1: There’s a “Right Way” to Feel About Divorce

Depending on what you watch, there are only two “right” ways to feel about your separation. Either you’re ecstatic that you’re “finally free,” or you’re deeply depressed at the loss of your marriage. That’s just not how it works in real life.

There’s no correct way to feel about your split. You can feel happy, sad, angry, or even numb. You’ll probably have all of these emotions at one point or another. No two divorces are the same. Let yourself feel how you feel, and don’t worry about what the movies say.

Lie #2: Mothers Are Guaranteed to Get Custody

Another common movie trope is that mothers always get sole custody and child support for any kids in the marriage. That’s not the case. California requires both parents to be considered equally for custody, and there’s an institutional preference to split custody down the middle. Mothers and fathers are equally likely to get full custody.

Lie #3: Alimony Is Inevitable

Similarly, there’s a myth that women will inevitably get spousal support after a separation. Movies portray men paying ex-wives most of their income after a split, but that’s no more likely than fathers losing custody of their kids.

Alimony must go from the higher-earning to the lower-earning spouse. If both partners earn relatively similar amounts or if neither partner requests it, alimony may not be awarded at all.

Lie #4: Divorces Always Take Forever

Many movies and shows portray the separation process as dragging out forever. That’s great for drama, but it’s not necessarily realistic. If both partners can still work together, a divorce can be relatively quick. Many divorces are easily finalized during California’s mandatory six-month waiting period, so you can be on your separate ways as quickly as possible.

Lie #5: It Has to Be a Battle

There’s an assumption that separation will always be a high-conflict fight. Today, that’s not the case. With the rise of no-fault divorce, it’s easy for couples to split before their ability to be civil to each other disappears. With the right help, you can separate from your partner without messy legal battles or emotional confrontations.

Don’t Let the Movies Scare You Away from Divorce

If your marriage feels beyond saving, then it’s time to end it. Don’t believe the lies movies and TV tell you about the process. Divorce can be relatively quick and painless if you do it right.

The first step is to get in touch with an experienced divorce lawyer. They can help you handle your split the right way and avoid falling into movie cliches about bad separations. Schedule your consultation today to learn more about how a separation can help you.