8 Tips for Men Getting a Divorce

Divorce is extremely hard on everyone involved, but it can be especially challenging for those men who do not typically express their emotions. However, you want a support system in place, just like any other major life change. The more you know about what to expect when getting a divorce, the easier the process can be. Here are some key do's and don'ts for men getting a divorce:

1. Know the numbers

For an average divorce in Maricopa County, you can expect to pay between $7,500 and $20,000 although it can be cheaper for uncomplicated issues and much more expensive for complex divorce cases. If a man has a straightforward divorce - where all the terms have already been decided, and communication is open between the partners - then the cost could be less than $2,500. The price can increase exponentially if your divorce requires niche experts, like a forensic accountant, a custody evaluation or a co-parenting counselor. You may additionally need to pay experts, appraisers, counselors, real estate costs to divvy up shared marital property, costs for finding a second place for you to live, as well as financial advice and therapy for you or your children.

2. Don't Be Too Proud to Pay Alimony if Your Ex is Entitled (Spousal Maintenance)

Alimony (spousal maintenance) offers monetary help to the spouse who was supported financially during the marriage - especially if one parent left the workforce to focus on the family for a long period of time. Spouses usually provide alimony (spousal maintenance) in regular payments, but lump sums may also be negotiated. The impact of alimony (spousal maintenance) isn't just financial - there's also a psychological component. Men may feel that a former spouse doesn't deserve to receive "free" income based on their hard work - no one wants to have to write out a check to an ex. While no one wants to pay alimony (spousal maintenance), when working out a global package, it could make sense in achieving you ultimate goal. Caveat - this does not mean all exes are entitled to such support.

3. Don't Be Too Proud to Collect Alimony (spousal maintenance)

If a woman is making more than her spouse or if the father is a stay-at-home parent while the mother works, then the ex-husband could be entitled to receive alimony (spousal maintenance). According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 56 percent of divorce lawyers have seen an increase in mothers paying child support, and 47 percent have seen more women paying alimony, as well. Being an alimony recipient can sometimes bring about feelings of insecurity. If you are entitled, you should receive it as the law only allows for it when it is necessary to support your reasonable needs.

4. Create a Post-divorce Life Budget

Make a budget for your new life. Understand that if you were previously in a 2 income household, both spouses' standard of living will go down as there is the same amount of income, but 2 mortgages, electric bills, phone bills, water bill, etc. to pay. You may also need to replace furniture, electronics, appliances and even clothes, toys and furniture for your children as the property will be divided during the divorce.

5. Divide Things Equally

Do not feel obligated to cave into lopsided agreements - and this is often the case with men who are used to taking care of a spouse financially. Dividing your property - furniture, electronics, appliances, artwork, camping gear, music equipment - should be done in a way so that you don't end up with resentments or regrets. It's okay to not to let your ex have it all.

6. Look into Alternative Child Support Solutions

Typically, child support covers basic necessities - food, clothing, shelter. Depending on how you arrange your settlement, it may also include uninsured medical expenses, educational fees, child care, transportation, travel, entertainment, college and extracurricular activities. Many arguments can erupt between ex-spouses over managing these costs.

Children are expensive. A Father paying child support will never be able to feel secure that the child support is going to be applied directly to the child. Dads who want everything identified with invoices, slips and statements are not going to get them under the law. You can negotiate a "hybrid" solution. For example, you can pay a service provider directly (like a child-care provider or even prepaid medical providers) or you could negotiate to contribute to the mother's share of their 529 education plan.

7. Set up a Cellular Plan

For children who are old enough, buy them a cell phone that's designated for the sole purpose of contacting you. Call it the "Dad Phone," and ask your ex to leave it in a spot where your child can always find it. This is the easieest way to ensure on-going communication with your child.

8. Don't Make Impulsive Financial Decisions

Treat your divorce with a sense of gravity and do not make any major financial decisions for six to 12 months. Don't switch jobs. Don't move to a new city. Try to hold the status quo.

Contact the attorneys at Lasiter & Jackson, PLLC to explore your options in these, and other, areas of divorce. We are available during regular business hours at (602) 234-5900.

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