The biggest mistake divorced men make is not seeking divorce advice before they meet with an attorney or file for a divorce. Maybe it seems like a lawyer should be able to tell you everything you need to know, or perhaps you and your wife have agreed to end things on a friendly or at least agreeable note. But things have a way of going haywire in a divorce situation and can soon be raging out of your control unless you know what to expect, how to protect yourself, and how divorce law is administered in your state.
Consider this: When you meet with a divorce lawyer, the first thing he wants is your retainer up front. A down payment. Money. So you know where his interests lie.
And if you and your wife couldn't work things out in your marriage, what makes you think you can amicably come to terms during a divorce? It's not unheard of, and it's great for everyone if you can do it, but the fact is, you won't do it by putting your head in the sand and staying ignorant of the process or the procedures divorce entails. And if you want to protect your rights, you need to know what your rights are. You need to know the law and how to apply it to your situation.
Many states now have no-fault divorce. That means no one has to be at fault or to blame for the breakup of your marriage, at least not legally. There need be no name calling or stone throwing. The judge doesn't care why you're getting a divorce, only that you want one. And if everyone is perfectly honest, the sad fact probably is that both of you are probably at fault since it takes two to fight, so there's really no point in passing blame.
But regardless of good intentions to stay on friendly terms, when it comes right down to dividing up possessions like the house, the cars, the savings, the retirement account, your investments, and most especially, the children and their time, you are probably going to find yourself at odds with your wife and find yourself needing divorce advice. The question is, will you get good advice, from whom, and will you get it before you need it or after it's too late?
Even if things start out smoothly, that can change rapidly. What happens if your wife suddenly decides she wants full custody of the kids? Does the law automatically favor the woman as the best person to raise them? In some states, yes. But that doesn't mean there aren't things you can do to improve your chances of gaining custody.
And what about possessions, existing bills, and financial responsibility for the children's health insurance, medical expenses, braces, school tuition, and other necessities, in addition to child support. Who is responsible for paying what? And who gets to make the decisions about things with the kids, like whether they can get their navel pierced or a tattoo or join the service before they turn 18?
Once things start to totally fall apart, you'll find yourself asking for divorce advice from every divorced guy you know. Unfortunately, he probably won't know how to help you because he'll still be too busy being bitter over losing his shirt and everything that used to house it in his own divorce action.
If your marriage is on the verge of ending and you're planning to divorce your wife, for whatever the reason, you need good solid information and divorce advice, and you need it fast ... before you agree to anything, make sure you know what your legal rights are, and know those rights vary from state to state, sometimes drastically.