Divorce tips for men starts with the legal landscape. This article is part one of a three-part series. Part two will be practical divorce tips for men they could really use (and many don’t know) and part three will help with the emotional aspects of it all…and we all know the emotional side can sometimes be the most challenging.
Remember men, this isn’t legal advice. Divorce advice comes from an actual dialogue with a divorce lawyer and the lawyer understanding your specific situation. No matter how many divorces we handle for men, we still treat each person as an individual. There is no cookie-cutter divorce for men or women and therefore no cookie-cutter advice. All of the divorce tips for men we write here are for California divorces only and no other State.
We think you will enjoy this article. It gets right to the point and everything we write here is based on our experience in handling divorces. Ready? Let’s get started.
Divorce tips for men and the legal landscape
Divorce Tip #1 for men: Think before you move out
Some men badly want to keep the peace even when there is none. They want it so badly that they do things like move out of the house and leave themselves at their wife’s mercy regarding chid custody and visitation. Hey, if you and your wife are reasonable and cooperative, awesome – no worries about moving out. If you have any doubt, think before you act and read this article about divorce and moving out while you’re at it. Whether you should move out or not requires a balancing of the custody and financial advantages and disadvantages. There can sometimes be financial advantages and disadvantages if you are the higher income earner to staying in the house with your wife and you should discuss those with your lawyer.
Divorce Tip #2 for men: Consult with at least 2-3 experienced family law attorneys
How many divorce lawyers would tell men to consult with others? We’re one of the very few but we do it because we want men to gain perspective. If nothing else, it will help you distinguish between those lawyers who want to “sell” you versus those that want to “help” you. It’s good to know the difference when choosing an advocate.
Divorce Tip #3 for men: Stay away from over aggressive, barking suits
Of all the divorce tips for men, this one is big. This is so big that men who search for a father’s rights attorney in California need to read this tip more than once. Be very careful of divorce lawyers who sell you that there is bias against dads, that you need to be super aggressive and give you nonsense (we can’t even call it advice) that appeals to your illogical, emotional side. It’s just dumb and they do it for one reason – to b.s. you into retaining them.
Divorce Tip #4 for men: Go cheap and you’ll get cheap so don’t go cheap
Of the ten divorce tips for men, this one may be the hardest to do unless you have been in business for yourself or you value the importance of time and attention to produce the best result. It’s so tempting to put your primary focus on saving money when thinking about a divorce because you may naturally think the divorce, itself, will be expensive with child support, spousal support and more. Sound familiar? Men, this is where you have to think outside the box for success.
It starts with a consultation. Don’t overthink the “free consultation” thing. Spending $200 to $300 to spend an hour or so with an attorney to get REAL advice (not just a fee quote and a couple of sales pitches) is well worth it. You can afford it. This is your life, children and financial health we’re talking about here. Most of the time, our law firm will actually apply that initial fee you pay toward your retainer so we deduct the initial fee for the case strategy session from the fees you pay. Let’s do math – if you pay $200 for the initial strategy session and your retainer deposit is hypothetically $4,000.00, you pay $3,800.00. Easy right?
What about the actual retainer? If saving yourself a bit of money on the initial retainer deposit or getting an unusually low hourly rate is your priority, then time and attention your case needs may take a back seat to that. There is a reason some lawyers give a very low quote. It’s because they may not intend to spend much time on your case. Think that’s good for your case? Unless you have a very simple, uncontested case with little to no assets, property or custody issues, that means lack of preparation and a lot of your frustration. We have had enough cases where clients retain us after the client has fired his or her last lawyer for exactly this reason. Unscrewing something that has been screwed up is always more time-consuming and expensive. Men, don’t fall into the “cheap lawyer” trap.
Divorce Tip #5 for men: Keep lines of communication free-flowing with your divorce lawyer
You hired a terrific divorce lawyer. Congratulations. Now what? Communicate men! You’re not done, you’re getting started. No, you’re not going to talk to your lawyer every day. But regular communication usually means two to four times a month, sometimes less and sometimes more depending on what is going on with your case at that time. Phone and email is the most common. In fact, if your lawyer is still mailing you things, ask him or her to get with it. The 90’s ended a while ago.
Divorce Tip #6 for men: Keep the children at the center of your attention
You’re the one going through the divorce so it’s hard to not be focused on your needs. That makes you normal. But when it comes to your children, the focus needs to be different. Child custody and visitation in California is about the children’s best interest, not yours. That means when figuring out issues like joint legal custody in California, physical custody and parenting time (I really hate the word “visitation” even though the law uses it), think about what works for your kids first. You’re a good parent so what works for them and you may be the same thing.
Divorce Tip #7 for men: Don’t ever lie about your finances
Of all the divorce tips for men, I sure hope this is the most obvious but we’ll write it anyway. Don’t lie about your finances. It’s not worth it. That’s all there is to it. You get caught lying about your income, hiding assets or property or otherwise breaching your fiduciary duty, you may get screwed. The California Family Code is harsh in such situations and in some cases, you could lose an entire asset or property as a result or be seriously monetarily sanctioned for the misconduct.
Divorce Tip #8 for men: Stop feeding the lawyers by spending $9 on $10 disputes
Steven, one of our divorce clients wrote in his review of us:
“When it came time to file my divorce, I knew things would get very messy. My ex-wife was hostile, financially aggressive and determined to fight me at every turn. From the beginning, they alleviated my concerns and significantly lowered my stress level. They immediately analyzed my situation and put together a sound strategy to achieve the best outcome for my divorce. Throughout the process they gave me great legal advise to avoid costly mistakes. Furthermore, they worked efficiently on my case by focusing their time on the issues that really mattered while avoiding legal fluff or minor issues that drag on. I highly recommend this law firm.”
“Legal fluff” are issues that are not worth the legal fees or fight. Worry about the net in your pocket, not lining your lawyer’s pockets. Even if your spouse is a nightmare and her lawyer isn’t much better, don’t get sucked into a fight because she started it. There are better ways. What are those? That’s where good legal advice comes in.
Divorce Tip #9 for men: Get a strategy and a budget from your lawyer
A strategy is what we’re doing and why. A budget is an estimate of the cost.
Regarding cost, no lawyer will ever be able to truthfully tell you what your divorce will cost. If they claim they will, then ask them to handle it for a flat fee for that same price and see how quickly their tone changes. Most family law attorneys work at an hourly rate because divorce is unpredictable. Uncontested cases turn into contested ones and what you thought was a contested case may settle quickly.
But no matter your situation, get a strategy and budget. With our family law firm, you don’t have to ask. We do it on every case.
Divorce Tip #10 for men: Settle or go to trial but don’t languish for years in divorce court
Divorce is not wine. It doesn’t get better by aging it. Some cases will go on for more than a year and it may be inevitable. Your wife, her lawyer, the sometimes very slow family court system (you know you’re one of many thousands of cases the court and sometimes your judge handles) all contribute to this. This isn’t limited to family law. It’s not even State wide, court congestion is a nationwide problem. Heck, you may contribute to your own’s case slower pace.
No matter what, move it forward at a reasonable pace. If you do things like put your divorce case on “hold” for a while or agree to your wife’s request to do so, you may be asking for trouble. The one exception may be reconciliation. Of course, your marriage is worth restoring if it reasonably can be restored but make sure that is happening for the right reasons. We have actually seen cases where reconciliation efforts were not sincere but rather a rouse. Again, good legal advice is important.
So there you have it – the top ten divorce tips for men from a legal perspective. Coming soon, we will give you the practical and emotional side of it. We hope you enjoyed this article. Are you ready for that legal strategy session we wrote about? Contact us now. We have offices in Santa Ana and Mission Viejo, in Orange County. We’re ready to help.