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!