How divorce can sometimes prove especially difficult for men

When a couple makes the difficult decision to divorce, it's highly likely that both parties will experience some degree of conflicted emotions, including sadness, anger and anxiety.

Regardless of how a person may be feeling about a divorce, family experts urge them to be open and ensure that they have a support system in place. This is especially true for men, who these experts argue are often more prone to trying to go it alone during these difficult times.

"Divorce is difficult for everyone involved, but it can be especially challenging for men who don't typically express their feelings," said one expert. "They want to keep their divorces private -- and that's not a good policy. You want a support system in place, just like any other major life change."

They argue that having such a support system in place -- family and friends, attorneys, financial planners, family counselors, etc. -- can actually help ensure that men avoid making divorce-related financial decisions that are harmful to them both now and over the long run.

What then is one of the more common divorce-related financial mistakes that men can make when they fail to adequately consult with their support system?

Not surprisingly, it has to do with the topic of spousal support.

In general, spousal support is awarded to one spouse in a divorce as a means of providing a fair standard of living between the two spouses. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the spouse who earns more will make support payments to the spouse who earns less, provided he or she has the means.

Experts indicate that many men make the mistake of either 1) claiming that they will refuse to pay spousal support out of anger/sadness or 2) claiming that they will refuse to accept spousal support from their former spouse out of a perhaps a misplaced sense of pride.

The problem with the first scenario, flat out refusing to pay spousal support at the outset of divorce proceedings, is that it can quickly turn the divorce proceedings hostile, leading to a prolonged, costly and emotionally exhausting courtroom battle. In fact, at the conclusion of these proceedings, the husband may still end up paying the spousal support he fought so hard to avoid paying.

Accordingly, experts indicate that men should keep an open mind and be willing to discuss the matter, as it can actually save money them more money in the end.

As for receiving spousal support, experts similarly urge men to keep an open mind and remember that social norms have evolved considerably over the past several decades such that women are the primary earners in many U.S. households.

Indeed, recent Statistics from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reveal that 47 percent of divorce lawyers have reported seeing an uptick in the number of women paying spousal support, while 56 percent have reported seeing an uptick in the number of women paying child support.

If you are currently considering a divorce here in California and would like to learn more about child custody, child support, spousal support or property division, consider speaking with an experienced attorney.

Source: The Week, "8 financial tips for men getting a divorce," Hayley Krischer, September 30, 2013  

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