If you are a man, you’ve probably heard plenty of
divorce war stories. You may have heard about wives who took their husbands to
the cleaners, husbands who were driven to
bankruptcy, and perhaps the worst, fathers who were victims of parental alienation.
Have these things really happened? Sure, they have, but that doesn’t
mean that any of these things have to happen to you.
We know, sometimes the thought of a “divorce” makes men scared
straight. Suddenly, they imagine living in a tiny apartment in a bad neighborhood
eating Ramen noodles, paying a fortune in child support, and barely getting
to see their kids. Meanwhile, their ex-wives
make out like bandits. We’re telling you, the fear is
REAL, but it doesn’t have to turn into reality. Instead, let’s envision
a much brighter post-divorce future for you.
As divorce attorneys, we represent men and women every day and no, we do
not lean towards one gender over the other. Our goal is to educate our
clients, fully inform them of their rights and responsibilities, help
them have a
collaborative divorce, and protect their best interests throughout the process.
In the end, we hope that our clients can
have a positive experience that lasts after the divorce is final. If they can have respectful and
pleasant conversations with their ex during and after the divorce, even better.
In January, we wrote, “Essential Divorce Considerations for Women” and now it’s men’s turn. Below, we discuss the pressing
issues that must be considered by all men during the divorce process.
We encourage you to read to the end and if you have further questions,
don’t hesitate to contact our firm for legal assistance.
Divorce Consideration #1. Should You Move Out?
This question is for all of you fathers with minor children living at home.
If you foresee a
child custody battle, we do NOT recommend moving out until after you get a temporary child
custody order from the court. If you can’t stand it at home and
you move in with your buddy, your folks, or get your own apartment and
leave the children with your wife, it can be very difficult to change
this arrangement down the road.
By leaving your kids with your wife, you’re telling the court that
she’s perfectly fit to care for the children full-time. If you plan
on disputing her “fitness” because she has a
mental illness, a substance abuse problem, or because she’s abusive to the children
or neglectful, you will be contradicting yourself and losing credibility
by leaving them in her care. So, you may want to think twice about moving
out until you’ve secured a temporary child custody order from the
court, one where your future intentions are clear.
Divorce Consideration #2. Can You See Other Women?
Some states frown heavily upon
adultery while a couple is legally married, but California is a no-fault divorce
state, so the judge will not be interested in you dating other women prior
to or during your divorce. However, if you spend marital assets on your
new girlfriend; for example, if you take her to Hawaii, put her up in
an apartment, or buy her plastic surgery, the judge is likely to consider
that you wasted marital assets and this could mean your wife receives
a larger settlement.
If you do
decide to date, we suggest that you exercise caution out of respect for your marriage
and your divorce. This means avoid posting pictures on social media of
your dates. Try to be discreet and don’t take your date to places
that you may run into your wife. Also, do not introduce your dates to
your children until after the divorce is final. While some people are
eager to make introductions, remember, divorce is hard on children too.
It’s usually best to wait six months, if not a whole year to introduce
girlfriends to your kids.
Divorce Consideration #3. Can You Cut Your Wife Off?
In a word, “no” you should not do this. Until you are divorced,
you are both financially responsible for each other. If you earn more
than her or if she’s unemployed, she can ask the court for temporary
spousal support while the divorce is pending, and for support afterward. If you close
the bank accounts, and cut her off from all sources of cash, she could
end up penniless and this will NOT be viewed favorably by the judge.
Divorce Consideration #4. Will You Pay Spousal Support?
Contrary to popular belief, spousal support is not automatic in a California
divorce. Will you pay? It depends on a number of factors, namely your
wife’s need for support and your ability to pay it. If she’s
working and you both earn roughly the same each year, you may not be ordered
to pay it.
On the other hand, if she’s a stay-at-home mom or if you earn a lot
more than her, the chances of you paying child support are higher. Also,
women without college degrees are more likely to receive spousal support
than their college-educated counterparts with more employment opportunities.
Divorce Consideration #5. Can You Buy a Sports Car?
Refrain from making any big purchases until after the divorce is final,
especially if you intend to argue paying spousal support. If you buy a
sports car, it’s sending a powerful message to your spouse’s
attorney and the judge that obviously, you can afford to pay your wife
Divorce Consideration #6. Can You Avoid Child Support?
You love your kids and are terrified of parental alienation. Your mom can
watch the kids for you, or you can afford to pay for a full-time nanny.
So, if you get
50/50 joint custody, does that mean you can avoid child support altogether? Not so fast. If
you earn more than your wife, you could be awarded joint custody
andstill have to pay your ex some child support.
We hope this article cleared up a few things for you, but we’re just
scratching the surface. If you’re considering divorce,
contact our Los Angeles divorce firm to schedule a
free case evaluation with an experienced member of our legal team.
Changes to Spousal Support Laws