Divorce for Men: A Slightly Different Ballgame

While popular culture suggests that men seek freedom from marriage and their familial duties, the reality is that times have changed. Because of this stigma, men often feel the courts favor their wives’ needs and minimize theirs. For men and women alike, divorce is never simple, but as involved fathers and providers, divorce for men has a unique set of challenges.  In pursuit of fairness and their children’s happiness, men should consider no-fault divorce, mutually dividing marital assets and child custody.

Do not dismiss the possibility of uncontested, simple divorce before making a move

Ideally, it is best for couples to pursue no-fault divorce and proceed uncontested. In the spirit of simplicity, this type of divorce for men and women can be the cheapest means to an end for both parties.  It also supports keeping the family out of the courtroom. Managing settlement and division of assets together will prevent a judge from having to decide a couple’s fate. Historically, men have been seen as the difficult party throughout divorce; either being tough to find, unresponsive, or dismissive. As such, many men fear judges that may express a more lenient point of view to women and consider uncontested divorce. Through the simple, uncontested, no-fault divorce process, the parties are able to control the outcome.

Laying the foundation for a marital settlement agreement (MSA)

Divorce for men usually means losing lots of money, walking away from assets, or fighting tooth and nail to stay afloat.  The process itself can become expensive and having two households to support can be stressful. What will ultimately reduce costs the most is discussing expectations and needs with your wife. Whatever is discussed can be incorporated in the marital settlement agreement and finalized later. Women tend to place more value on possessions than their husbands do; however, it is not advisable to walk away empty handed to avoid arguing. It may be difficult, but having a conversation early on could save money in the long run. Having an experienced divorce attorney can also help plan for this discussion or pursue matters formally.

Enlisting the help of a financial planner to analyze and suggest plans can alleviate this stress. More often than not, the marital home can be a point of contention with couples struggling to find ways to keep it or sell. Before moving out or making any quick decisions, speak with an attorney or move to a friend’s place for a bit. Any rash decisions about leaving could affect the divorce in other ways, including custody.

Women do not have the automatic favor in Pennsylvania custody disputes

Historically, men fought against a system that methodically favored women in custody matters. For example, the “tender years” doctrine worked against many fathers and arguably against the best interests of the child. This is the ideology that the mother is always best equipped to provide the nurturing care a child needs during early childhood. Fortunately, Pennsylvania passed Act 112. This is a child custody law that renders all custody determinations be gender neutral. Emphasizing focus on the best interests of the child, Act 112 has allowed for more fathers than ever to have custody of their children – from split to full custody.

For men who want to handle custody without a formal order or involvement of the courts, quality and quantity of time spent with children should be top priority. Children need an active role model and sometimes an ex spouse can work the children as a bargaining tool. If constructive discussions on custody are futile, seek the experience of the divorce attorneys at the Law Offices of Michael Kuldiner, P.C. The courts uphold the importance of children maintaining contact with their fathers and our attorneys can provide options to support this initiative.

Divorce is hard on everyone - your needs matter, too

This is a difficult time for everyone in your family.  Enlisting the support and professional guidance of a Bucks County divorce attorney will change the course of souring negotiations. While easiest to pursue simple divorce and handle matters collectively, it is often difficult to retain the focus and cooperative spirit it requires. If you are considering a divorce, custody, or support action, contact our office at (215) 942-2100 to schedule a consultation with an attorney. Having experienced and trusted counsel can change the outcome of this trying time in your life.