Common wisdom says that divorce is no picnic for either party and that both sides suffer throughout the process. If that were the case we should reasonably expect divorce filing statistics to be relatively split across the genders but the data does not support that assertion. Instead up to 80% of divorces are filed by women and the true percentage of women initiated divorces are even higher than that grim statistic because in a certain percentage of the other cases the man is backed into a corner and forced to file.
I am not going channel my inner Sun Tzu and claim that divorce is war and that you must destroy your ex. At the same time you need to be realistic and recognize that your ex is not the person you thought you married and pledged to love til death do you part. Your obligation to her has already ended and it is your job to have a strong head and secure the best deal you can for yourself through the divorce process (and your children if you have any) .
What makes me an expert in the field of divorce? I won’t claim to be and I am not a legal professional. I only know what I have experienced from my own divorce and from the cases from relatives and friends that I have witnessed as an outside observer looking in. Experience (direct or through observations) is often the best teacher and if that is the case consider me your divorce Socrates. I am not trying to peddle products or make a buck from down on their luck divorced men or any other such scams. Consider me a friend in your corner from a man who has been through a frivolous divorce and recognizes the stresses that come from such a situation. Men today are facing an a raw deal when it comes to marriage and divorce and anything I can do to help a brother out is my moral obligation.
* Note my reference group here is men being divorced for frivolous reasons. If you did some f’d up shit during your marriage some of this may still help you but your not my target audience.
One of the resources I first stumbled into while researching divorce online was The List. Thankfully for me my ex was just tired of marriage and looking for an out vs. being out for blood so most of this content did not apply to me. It is still a good idea to understand worst case scenarios and to protect yourself against these cases in case you are dealing with a crazy vindictive ex. Learn the worst case scenario and prepare yourself for the worst vs. being surprised that bad things can happen during a divorce.
Actions to take during initial stages of divorce:
1. Read The List and determine which of these actions you may need to prepare for. Most pertinent:
- Never ever ever leave the family residence. If she changes the locks call the police and get back in but don’t leave unless the cops make you.
- Begin your financial separation. That means begin to freeze joint credit accounts and secure 50% of any shared savings so she can not wipe you out financially. Notice I did not say plunder the joint accounts like Genghis Khan you want to do what a reasonable person would do and your entitled to half and it will be looked upon badly if you overstep those bounds in dramatic fashion.
- Get any guns you may have out of the house and secure them at a trusted friend/relatives house.
- Do not drink around her especially if you can not control your drinking. There is just too much liability for things to go wrong even if nothing really happened.
- Continue to spend normal/above normal parenting time with your children (if applicable to you). Keep a journal of all of your parenting time and also any events that should be noted if you need them later (reference The List). Do not use the kids as a weapon, I know easier said then done especially when you are not the aggressor there.
- I am not a big fan of keystroke logging the family computer since obtaining evidence of wrongdoing with not usually aid your court case (if only things were that fair). The main reason I am against it is because I think it keeps you emotionally invested when you need to be letting go vs. trying to get even (its not out of some mangina sense that it is the ethically wrong thing to do by the way).
- Do not discuss the situation or your developing strategy with joint friends and associates. Any allies you choose to entrust in your circle need to be 100% on your side with 0 loyalty questions. Baring that keep to yourself or find a good personal divorce mentor who will keep everything confidential.
- Learn the family/divorce laws of your state most of these can be easily be researched online. Learn things such as divorce waiting periods, required parenting classes for divorces, maximum alimony liabilities, and other general information about the divorce process in your state.
2. Acknowledge your soon to be ex is no longer the person that you married and thought you were going to spend the rest of your life with. She does not have to be the enemy (unless she chooses that path) but she is not your confidant and not in your corner. Distance yourself from her emotionally now and do not seek to win her back through being a better beta that won’t work and will only infuriate her more. You could try to alpha up you married man sex life but that too is a long shot if you are this far down the process. Either way have self respect and recognize anyone who doesn’t want to be with you and honor their commitment is not worth your efforts.
3. Ballpark how much lawyer you are going to need. Lawyers are famous for eating up all of the assets on both sides so based on the divorce situation determine if you can work things out on the cheap or have to really lawyer up.
4. Begin to brainstorm how you can allocate assets between yourselves to minimize lawyer involvement. What does she want vs. what you want and do not get too emotionally caught up in certain assets like keeping the house. Value any assets to be distributed between you by their economic value alone.
5. Do not do anything to provoke your soon to be ex. Even if she is the one initiating a frivolous divorce you’d be wise to avoid bringing another women around or other things that might openly antagonize her. I am saying this out of pragmatism for your end results vs. any concern for her well being. Do not apply logic to an emotional situation and expect that it will rule the day and that what you are doing is ok. Think long term and getting free at the least possible cost vs. thinking about short term pleasure or emotional revenge.
6. Do not have sex with her anymore (or if you just can’t listen use maximum protection) What you might be viewing as make up sex she might be viewing as 18 yrs more child support or worse yet cover for transgressions with someone else. Protect yourself by avoiding sex with her or handling all your own protection (and flush that used condum like a highschool athlete soon to go pro plumbing me dammed)
This is getting a tad long in the pixels so I will write a follow-up for divorce mid/end game strategy to help break it up in more manageable chunks. Stay strong man.