I’ve dealt with divorce for more than 30 years and I can tell you this – women can keep up an argument longer than almost all men. So, think doubly hard before you decide to get into a likely long running dispute over any aspect of your divorce.
This is a generalisation and I don’t wish to upset any of the fairer sex, but I have found it to be the case and so my top divorce tip for men is: try to seek out an agreement rather than look for a fight. It’s not worth spending £5,000 on additional legal fees to argue about giving the ex-wife £5,000 is it? Why not give it to her and be seen as the reasonable party? Close the chapter – it will help you start a new one.
Even in 2013, most men have more money/pensions/income than women. So, helping you sort out a financial settlement can sometimes correctly be described as “damage limitation” or, to be frank, how can we get you out of this as cheaply as possible? That may often mean avoiding too much argument (and therefore legal fees) although of course spending, say, £3,000 to avoid paying out £30,000 unnecessarily would be viewed as sensible by most people.
This willingness to come to an arrangement rather than fight tooth and nail is not just applicable to the finances. Think about it in the context of arrangements around any children as well. So you may only see them once a fortnight and this will be difficult to get used to – but they’ll have a great time with you, you won’t have to worry about the school run and homework but can concentrate on doing all the good stuff that you perhaps were unable to do so much when you were all together as a family because so many other things got in the way.
Here are five other tips for men on divorce
- Consider mediation – it’s not a soft option as some might think and it could help you come to that agreement without needing court.
- Use a lawyer who is on your side – that doesn’t mean you need to look for a man (or specifically a woman). It just means an experienced family law specialist who listens, advises and knows when to tell you you’re being unreasonable.
- Put the children first – I hinted at this above but it is what is best for them that is important, not what is best for you. You need to work at your relationship with them and this will be helped by keeping things civil with the mum, however much of a bad taste that may leave in your mouth.
- Negotiate – firmly, but fairly. Bearing in mind what I have said above, you still have the right to stand your ground if you feel you are being unfairly treated. However, bullying tactics won’t be appreciated by your wife, her solicitor or, should it come to it, the courts. You might not think you are bullying but sometimes men in a stressed situation come across as aggressive, which is essentially the same thing.
- Be honest. In my experience, many (most?) men leave their wife for another person. If that’s you, let your lawyer know. It can become very important and there are legal ways of avoiding problems, but your solicitor needs to be aware of the situation from the start.
And remember it is right that you should let off steam with your mates in the pub. You need that pressure release and people to talk to/at –just don’t take legal advice from them!
Comments and Response - Divorce Tips for Men
Bravo! I hope the men out there listen and the women out there, give them a chance to take the right apporach and do not hold a grudge for past errors.
By Karen Agnew-Griffith on Thursday October 10, 2013
Great to see you promoting mediation as an option to sort out differences. Great stuff Andrew. From Emma at Family Mediation Centre Staffordshire
By Emma Turner on Thursday October 17, 2013
I wish Andrew had been around when I was going through my two divorces ...
By Roy Law on Thursday October 17, 2013
I cannot fathom how we as a society have arrived at a framework of legal practice that allows for the level of discrimination that we see in cases of divorce. Everything I read describes a foregone conclusion that penalises the father/husband to a great degree regardless of the fairness of it. The idea that pursuing divorce in many cases is to in any way ‘put the children first’ turns my stomach. Divorce and justice are terms that should never be interlinked.
Let me know when there is a divorce solicitor ready to challenge the status quo, rather than dolling out the same old tripe time after time. I’m sure it pays the bills, but the habitual destruction of families is a massive societal issue, and such ‘matter of fact’ articles only serve to perpetuate that issue.
While this isn’t the only firm of solicitors to profit from the sham that is divorce law, it is one of few that are brave enough to invite comment. Let’s see now whether they are brave enough to keep the comment, or better still, reply?
By Jeff Davis on Tuesday November 25, 2014
Jeff’s view is one commonly held. Hey, Jeff; I didn’t make the law! I just have to advise upon it as it is, whether I approve of it or not. MPs make the law so ask them if you want it changed. For our part, you’ll see a lot of Blogs on here making suggestions for change. We want change to help make divorce better. It is one or more of the married couple who cause the divorce, not us. We are involved after they have decided the marriage has ended.
I don’t agree that men are discriminated against normally. I think this is often assumed by the fact that even in 2014, it is normally the man who has more money thus pays more out. Also, again even in 2014, it is often the woman who has had the main care of children and/or has flexible hours or less hours at work so “gets” the children.
It’s true to say that we do make a profit from advising on divorce BUT we only get a good profit by doing a great job. To my mind a great job is to make divorce as painless as we can and that will often mean advice to do things which mean a lower bill.
By Andrew Woolley on Thursday November 27, 2014
I have worked hard for many years and had thought my marriage was, apart from very occasional differences, normal and happy until we relocated to france. My wife hated it, but our sons were doing well and we had a good lifestyle and I built up a good asset base to give her and my sons a secure future. My wife became moody and finally said she wanted to return to the UK and take over our cottage, which provided additional income to support my pension. I am 15 years older than my wife and we have two sons, 19 and 17. She is now demanding I sign over our cottage in the UK, which is worth about 50000 euros more than our home in France, which I and our sons love. If I do that, and then lose the income from the cottage, we will have to sell our home, as my sons have no income and my 19 year old will be going to university in September. I am between a rock and a hard place. If I sign over the cottage in Honiton, then we lose our home here, but will only be able to just afford a very small place and even then it will be difficult. There is no other woman (or man in my wife’s case) and we have been together for 34 years, so I cannot just hate and argue, especially as that affects our sons. French law is different and is not interested in reasons for the split up. My sons love France and now have 3 languages, which is the main reason we moved here. My wife stays in bed all morning, then the rest of the day she is on computer into Facebook or other religious websites. She has not worked for over 20 years and I am still working at 72 years old. I am exhausted and need to get something sorted out, but she will not move out until I agree to give her the cottage, her car and enough furniture to fill the cottage. That would equate to about 65% of our assets and leave me then with a home I cannot afford and the stress of supporting our sons. I have no way forward.
By Lee Barton on Friday March 11, 2016
Thank you for taking the time to comment on the blog, Lee. This must be a very difficult situation for you. We have sent you contact details, so if you would like to discuss possible legal options for you in this country then please let us know and we can arrange for you to speak in confidence with one of our lawyers.
By Woolley & Co on Friday March 11, 2016
I am in the process of divorce and financial settlement. There are no children involved. My wife and I have never had shared bank accounts or assets of any kind. I paid for everything throughout our marriage and provided my wife and her son with free board and lodging for over 20 years. I owned my house before my relationship and now it appears that by law my wife is entitled to a large percentage of my assets including my super. My wife has her own super, a long running business and other assets. The Australian Family Law Act is in my opinion nothing more than legalised theft.
By Andre Turnbull on Thursday July 5, 2018
Andre; I am sorry to hear that. Of course, we work only in the law of England and Wales but it is fairly similar to Australian law. I imagine you are both entitled to shares in each other’s assets and not just she in yours? Anyway, I do hope that you can resolve this by discussion and avoid an unpleasant and expensive Court hearing.
By Andrew Woolley on Monday July 9, 2018