Just as false expectations about marriage can make for unnecessary conflict and disappointment, unrealistic ideas about divorce can make the proceedings longer, more acrimonious, and possibly more expensive. Myths about divorce may be the result of laws that are now defunct, practices that are no longer common, or studies whose results have been misunderstood or debunked by later research. Knowing what you can expect from divorce will make it easier for an attorney to represent you and your transition back into single life easier. Half of All Marriages End in Divorce Divorce rates climbed higher in the 1970s due to many states making no-fault divorce available. The divorce rate has been decreasing since the 1980's, and while it does range from 40-50%, this is skewed partly by those who marry and divorce several times. All Wives Receive Alimony Alimony is now usually distributed based on financial dependence, not the sex of the spouse. If your spouse depends on you financially, you may be the one to pay alimony. This is more likely if your spouse is unlikely to be able to earn enough to maintain his or her lifestyle without your income. Mothers Always Receive Primary Custody of Children Family courts now assume that children benefit most from equal time with both parents. And a mother who is poorly equipped to care for children may have to yield to a parent who can provide a stable, healthy home. It's the Men Who Leave Their Wives While novels and tabloids may tell it differently, two-thirds of divorce petitions are filed by women. Some experts say this is because a woman's well-being is more directly impacted by the quality of her marriage. Divorce Is Always Expensive If you have agreed upon the most potentially costly matters-- i.e. those relating to children and property division, you may not require an attorney, let alone months of litigation. Living Together Before Marriage Prevents Divorce Moving in together can be a great test of whether your lifestyles are compatible. But having the same address doesn't add much to your relationship if you are doing so out of convenience or necessity rather than a genuine desire to be closer. Second Time's the Charm for Marriage Longevity You've learned from your mistakes in your first marriage. But a new marriage is a chance to make new mistakes. Between 67-80% of second marriages end in divorce. Like first divorce rates, these are skewed by those who divorce and remarry frequently. But as the previously divorced know that they can endure the difficulty of one divorce, a second divorce seems less daunting. Even under the best of circumstances, divorce is a difficult transition. Dividing joint assets and starting a newly single stage of life is financially and emotionally draining. But you can minimize the difficulty of your divorce by becoming well-informed about your rights and responsibilities. Local family courts and family lawyers in your area often have literature and websites that will put you on the right track. You may be ending a marriage, but you don't have to do it alone.