Top Ten Considerations For Men Going Through a Divorce
1. Living Arrangements: If you possibly can, it’s best not to move out of your marital home. If you can tolerate staying, it’s best to stay put for a couple of reasons. The most obvious is that it will save you a great deal of money, but there is a more subtle reason for not walking out. It may seem unfair, but leaving home can later be interpreted by the court as abandonment, especially if you do it without a written agreement explaining the reason for your move and outlining how you will continue to interface with your children.
2. The Self-Employed Spouse: In situations where your spouse is self-employed, you will need to obtain their business financials””Profit and Loss statements, Inventory and Balance Sheets, as well as bank account statements””so that an accurate assessment can be made regarding their ability to be financially independent and also contribute to the children’s financial support.
3. Spousal Support for Men: Spousal support, formerly referred to as “alimony,” is now called “maintenance” under Colorado law. It is intended to assist the more dependent spouse in transitioning to financial independence. In the past, women were often considered to be the more financially dependent spouse. In today’s economy, however, it is sometimes the husband who is the financially dependent spouse. At any rate, spousal support for men has become more common, and it may be something to which you are entitled.
4. Marital and Separate Property for Men: Both the husband and the wife need to gather as much documentation as possible about any property that was acquired as a gift or by inheritance while the couple were married. Likewise, any property that was owned by either party prior to their marriage should be well documented. This can include stock options, life insurance, a pension, or any other type of retirement fund such as an IRA or 401k.
5. Spending Habits and Finances: In order to come to a fair resolution with your spouse regarding possible spousal and/or child support payments, you will need to gather information about household expenses. This requires obtaining copies of bank statements, credit card statements, and any other receipts for cash payments. By thoroughly understanding how money has been spent in the past, you will be able to project future expenses, such as housing, health insurance, and specific child-related expenses.
6. Child Support for Men: As with spousal support, times have changed and, increasingly, more men are serving as primary caregivers for their children. If you find yourself in this situation and intend to continue in this capacity, you may be awarded child support. Child support and child custody are issues that can become contentious between divorcing spouses, and many different factors go into deciding which parent will become the custodial parent and be eligible for child support. A few of the determinants include which parent will spend the most time with the children and which will provide for primary housing and other expenses, such as medical and work-related child care.
7. Hire an Attorney Who Understands Men’s Issues: It is certainly reasonable to be concerned about your finances and possible future obligations. There are many questions to be answered, and divorce can turn out to be an expensive proposition for the man who does not immediately seek professional help from an experienced divorce attorney””someone who thoroughly understands the divorce process and is able to provide you with the best advice. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can do it yourself or that your divorce can be something you and your spouse work out together. Disagreements can turn ugly very quickly, and when they do, you will not want to be out-gunned.
Child Custody, Alimony, Assets & More
8. Business Finances for Men: In order to avoid conflict over whether they are being truthful and forthcoming about their income and business assets, men need to be able to produce the relevant financial documents, especially if they are self-employed. The tighter the husband’s financials are””Profit and Loss statements, as well as bank account statements””the more transparent their business assets will be so that the wife and her attorney can understand exactly what income and assets are available and what the husband’s financial obligations are. Many times, a great deal of money is wasted during a divorce in search of “hidden” assets that don’t actually exist.
9. Personal Finances for Men: In many marriages, it is the wife who handles the family’s day-to-day finances. Usually this is a matter of convenience for both spouses, but when divorce enters the picture, the husband may find that he is at a disadvantage when it comes to locating all the family assets (and the debts). For this reason, men need to gather as much information as possible””as early in the divorce process as possible””so that they can take steps to protect their assets and their credit.
10. Making the Case for Fatherhood: Sometimes men must fight for their parental rights. Negotiating child custody and visitation rights is not always easy, even though Colorado law treats both parents as equals in regard to parenting. Because of age-old societal prejudices against fatherhood, though, men need to take concrete steps to prove that they are committed, loving, responsible parents. The best way to do this is with documentation, so start keeping a Father’s Diary that includes the time you spend with your kids””how long, what you do, what you talk about. Look at your calendar over the past year and fill in dates and times that you have already spent with your children””or go back further if you wish””but the main thing is get it down in writing. It can make a big difference in a custody fight and be well worth your time.