You knew for a while that your marriage was on the rocks.
Your wife mentioned divorce once or twice during a fight, but you thought that was out of frustration.
You never expected her to actually say: “It’s over. I want a divorce, and I want you to move out.”
But she did, and now you have to figure out what to do.
You feel unsure.
You ask yourself things like: “Do I move out? What about the kids? How much stuff should I take? What are we going to do about paying the mortgage? What should I do about the money in the bank accounts?”
Divorce is really hard on men. Their family is breaking apart, and they feel alone. It’s all so confusing, and when you’re confused, you tend to do nothing.
If this is your situation, I’m sorry.
When things are tough and confusion sets in, it’s always good to have a plan.
When you have a way forward, your divorce will go a lot better.
Let’s go over a few tips that have really helped our male clients obtain the ideal results they’re looking for in their divorce.
Tip #1: If you have kids, don’t leave the home.
If you have kids and you want to spend a good amount of time with them after the divorce (e.g., 50/50 custody), do not, I repeat, do not, leave the home.
Your wife with ask you to leave. She will beg you to leave. She will tell you to leave.
If you leave your home and aren’t around your kids all the time, it will be very difficult to get good parent-time and custody.
Being in the same home with your kids dramatically increases your chance of getting 50/50 custody.
Tip #2: Gather up all your financial documents.
I get it, no one likes searching through their papers to find financial documents.
But, a big part of divorce is proving what assets and debts you have so we can split them. We also need to know finances so we can start working on lowering your alimony and calculating child support.
So, gather every financial document you can find: tax returns, pay stubs, 401(k) statements, credit card statements, bank statement, everything.
(Another reason to do this now: if you don’t do it at the beginning of the process, documents have a tendency to go missing.)
Tip #3: Split the bank accounts.
When you know you’re getting divorced, keep yourself safe and split the bank accounts.
What you do is go to the bank, open a new account only in your name, and transfer 50% from the joint accounts to your new account.
Because no judge will get upset at for you transferring 50%. A judge will get mad at you for transferring 90%, so don’t do that.
Play it safe. Play it smart.
Tip #4: Be nice.
Divorce is difficult, no matter what.
The #1 thing that makes divorce more difficult than it needs to be is people being mean to one another.
Being mean also increases divorce costs because it causes people to be less likely to negotiate and compromise.
The antidote to all this is being nice.
Look, you’re getting divorced, so there’s obviously no love lost, but be as nice as possible.
If your nice, though, your divorce will cost less and won’t take as long, you’ll maintain a good parenting relationship, and you’ll move on to your new life quicker.
There is no downside to being nice.
Tip #5: Be proactive.
In all the years we’ve helped me in divorce, we’ve found a pretty strong correlation between being proactive and obtaining your goals in divorce.
What I mean by this is if you want 50/50 with your kids and you want to maximize the money you’ll have after divorce, men have to be proactive and make things happen.
The more you let things happen to you, and the more you let your wife dictate your divorce, the less likely you’ll be as a man and father to get a fair outcome.
Again, you need to proactively push your divorce to obtain the results you want.