Divorce for Men
Men who are facing divorce might not realize that they could be required to pay various forms of support for their spouse and children. Having to support two households for a period of time can be a financial strain on anyone. The following is a list of tips and divorce advice for men who can help mitigate the financial hit going through a divorce might take on their wallet.
- Educate yourself. Try to learn as much as you can about the divorce process as possible. There are plenty of resources available online, but your best bet is to arrange a conversation with a qualified family law attorney. Most lawyers will offer a free initial consultation to provide some basic, but essential, divorce advice for men. Come prepared to these meetings - bring a list of questions you have. It will also be useful to ensure you have a basic understanding of your household expenses and the needs your family will have upon separation. Set aside some time before your appointment to list out your incomings and outgoings and estimate the basic values and liabilities of some of the largest assets you and your spouse share.
- Inform your financial institutions about the divorce. Call your various contacts, like your broker and banks to inform them that you are going through a divorce. If possible, set up your own, private account that your spouse will not have access to. You will have to eventually make full disclosure of said account and if established during marriage will be considered marital property.
- Get organized. Getting a divorce is hugely paper-driven. Courts and mediators will rely on financial records like tax returns, bank statements, retirement statements, and home appraisals. Start gathering these documents as soon as you make the decision to divorce. An easy way to organize these is to scan and upload them to your computer – that way you have a digital copy and a hard copy. It will be much easier to share them with your attorney and your spouse as well when the time comes, and you'll have a back-up copy just in case. Start keeping a calendar, too. If you share children with your spouse, then life is about to become more complicated with a time-sharing schedule. Write down when you will be with the kids and their events. Offer to share the calendar with your spouse to encourage communication and co-parenting.
- Cut costs – with caution! You will inevitably be living in two separate households for a period of time. Chances are, even if your expenses do not increase, your income will decrease. Think about non-essential items you can cut: extended cable, online streaming services, maybe even a gym membership. Start getting used to shopping at more budget-oriented stores and try to cut out unnecessary expenses. That said, do not cut things like insurance. Things like car or home insurance are usually required – either by law, or the mortgagor. Health insurance is an essential that should not be cut, especially for children. Also, remember that, should something terrible happen to your spouse, and you no longer insure them but are still married, any medical debt could be considered marital debt if incurred during the marriage. Finally, a court might have an injunction (or an order prohibiting it) against ceasing insurance during the divorce process. In New Jersey once a divorce complaint is filed you cannot remove your spouse from your auto, health, home owners, rental or life insurance policies. Consequently, when you file your complaint for divorce or a responsive pleading you must file an insurance certification simultaneously stating what insurance you have. Further, you must state any changes you made to said policies within 90 days of filing. When in doubt, reach out to your attorney to determine the best course of action.
- If you have kids, always put them first. Divorce does not tend to bring out the best in people. It can be tempting to be petty or talk disparagingly about your spouse in front of the kids. Sometimes, your spouse can be the immature party and you just want to retaliate! Try to always set aside your own differences and feelings for the sake of your children. Remember, you are not the only person experiencing the division of a family unit. Your children need to feel as stable and secure as possible. Spend as much time with your children as you can, because your time with them will soon be split with your spouse. Extend kindness to your spouse whenever possible – remind your children of their birthday or help them buy a gift on Mother’s Day. Remember, you are modelling what a healthy relationship is for your children (even when it's hard).
- Invest in time for yourself. Getting a divorce is financially, mentally and emotionally draining. When you experience feelings of despair or stress, it is crucial to find something that will help you get through it. Whether you dedicate more time to a hobby or sport or re-establish relationships with old friends or family members, it is important to start to create a life for yourself. Seek out professional help from a therapist if you are finding it difficult to process the transition. And make sure you do the simple things – eat right, get enough sleep, try to exercise on a regular basis, and try to minimize poor or abusive habits (like alcohol or drug use). All of these things will help you keep a calm and clear head that will translate into an easier, faster (and cheaper!) divorce.
If you need more divorce advice for men, contact the Law Office of Peter Van Aulen for a free initial consultation today, at (201) 845 – 7400.