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Six Rules For Men Going Through Divorce

For some men the prospect of going through divorce proceedings can seem particularly daunting: in addition to the usual emotional stresses involved in relationship breakdown, they fear losing contact with their children, losing their homes and financial ruin. Follow a few simple rules, however, and the process (and the outcome) need not be so painful.

Richard Howlett - Solicitor

Richard Howlett – Partner

1. Firstly, and most importantly, don’t go into the process thinking that the system is biased against you – it isn’t! Despite what you may hear elsewhere, the law does not favour men or women. So when it comes to arrangements for children, there is no presumption in favour of the mother - the only thing that matters is what is best for the child. If a court decides that a child should live primarily with its mother that is simply because that is what the court believes is best for the child’s welfare. And when it comes to sorting out the financial and property settlement, the starting-point is equal division.

2. Don’t get bogged down in insisting that your children spend exactly the same amount of time with you as with their mother. Shared parenting arrangements these days are very common, but the exact amount of time children spend with each parent’s isn’t important. What is important is the quality of the time that the children spend with each parent. Remember, it isn’t about the rights of the parent, but about the welfare of the child. Dragging out court proceedings just for the sake of achieving parity with their mother can be very damaging for the children involved.

3. On the other hand, don’t give up on seeing your children. Often, for practical reasons, when parents separate it is the father who moves out of the family home, leaving the children with the mother. The mother may then try to make it difficult for the father to see the children, forcing the father to make an application to the court for contact with them. The process of obtaining a court order can seem very long, and you may be tempted to give up. Don’t! Courts take view that children should have a full relationship with both parents, unless there are very good reasons why not. Stick it out to the end, not just for your sake, but for the sake of your children.

4. Moving on to finances, don’t be tempted to hide assets. Even these days it is still more often than not the case that the husband will have a higher income and more financial assets than the wife. This can lead some husbands into trying to hide assets, in an attempt to prevent their wives getting a share of them. However, such a policy is definitely not to be recommended. The court is almost certain to find out about it, and you could be penalised. Further, any settlement reached without full disclosure of all assets can be re-opened at a later date.

5. Negotiate, don’t dictate. Some husbands are inclined to try to force their views as to what is a fair settlement upon their wives. This is only likely to drag out proceedings and increase costs. Be aware that even if your wife were to agree to a settlement that is unfair to her, all settlements must be approved by the court before they can be finalised by a consent order, and the court will not approve an unfair settlement. By the same token, if mediation is tried, don’t try to bully your wife into agreeing with your demands – the mediator will not allow such behaviour.

6. Last, but not least, get a good lawyer! Male or female, a good lawyer will help you negotiate the pitfalls that can beset so many men going through divorce.

Richard Howlett - Solicitor - richard@selachii.co.uk - 02077925649

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