About half of all U.S. marriages will end in divorce, statistics show.
Still, many people are misinformed about the financial consequences of a breakup. Here are some common myths, compiled by the Institute of Certified Financial Planners in Denver.
* Everything is divided 50/50: The standard in most states is "equitable distrubution." What that means varies from state to state and from judge to judge. The division of assets can be tied to the length of the marriage, income, age, education, earning capacity, etc.
* All assets are equal, dollar for dollar: When taxes, commissions and invertment gains are factored in, all assets are not equal. A $100,000 house and $100,000 in cash or pension funds probably won't have the same value in 20 years.
* Divorced women are better off financially than they used to be: Some studies show that women and childrren still suffer a significant lifestyle decline within a year of divorce, while men often get a lifestyle boost.
* The wife should get the house: This may sound like a good idea, especially if the wife has custody of the children. But in some cases, the wife's income may be too small to cover the mortage, taxes and maintenance. And is she sells the house for cash, she could face a tax bite.
* I'll collect alimony: Most divorce settlements don't provide for spousal support. If alimony is awarded, it generallygoes to older women who have been married for a long time and have not worked outside the home.
* My ex-spouse will pay child support: According to 1990 U.S. census Bureau study, only half of the women awarded child support recieved half the amount awarded, and 25 percent got none at all. The average monthly payment in 1991 was $230 for one child.