We’ve helped hundreds of people in East Tennessee through their divorces, which means we also understand the many preconceived notions and misconceptions people have when it comes to the divorce process. Below is a list of some of the most common divorce myths we hear and the truth behind them.

MYTH #1: You are allowed to deny visitation if the other parent fails to pay child support.
Child support and visitation rights are not connected to one another. If the noncustodial parent fails to pay child support, the custodial parent must go to court to resolve the matter.

If you have a parenting plan, and the noncustodial parent is refusing to follow it, we can help you enforce it. In most cases, the best action is to file a petition for contempt. In that petition, you will ask the court to force the other parent to play by the rules. If the other parent does not do so, then he or she can be punished, sometimes even being subject to jail time.

MYTH #2: Children can choose which parent they want to live with.
In Tennessee, a child who is 12 or older may be able to tell a judge about his or her preference for primary residential parent, either in the courtroom or in the judge’s chambers. However, a judge will only take this information into consideration when determining custody and what’s in the best interests of a child. The amount of influence a child has revolves around several factors, including age, maturity level, and his or her reasons for preferring a certain parent.

During the divorce process, a judge will use common sense in evaluating parenting practices. If a judge believes that a parent is using unfair or vengeful custody tactics, the consequences can be devastating. Most judges believe that violating these type of tactics demonstrate that a parent is either unwilling or unable to exercise good judgment.

MYTH #3: Engagement rings and wedding bands are considered shared property.
In most divorce cases, an engagement ring belongs to the spouse who was the recipient of the engagement ring. Wedding bands are considered to be gifts from one spouse to another, and usually remain with the respective spouse.