If you are a working man on the brink of divorcing your wife, I know this question is at the top of your list. Divorce rights are something we never learn until we find ourselves needing this crucial information. Most of my clients get their initial information from a friend or family member who has been divorced.
This is typically a mistake since every case is different. If you are facing divorce, you need to make good strategic decisions from the very beginning. And if you’re smart, the “beginning” of the process starts long before you actually file for divorce. So just what are your divorce rights?
One thing most people don’t think about when they get ready to file for divorce is that laws are generally passed to protect the rights of both parties in a marriage, in theory, anyway.
The first thing you need to do is get your hands on as many of your family financial records as possible. If you are the breadwinner that means coming to terms with the fact that if you make the money, you are going to need to provide some support for some time to your spouse who makes less, especially if that spouse has been providing significant parenting support for your children and/or has not been in the workforce for awhile.
Because they love their children so much and work so hard to support them, my male clients are always concerned about how to get the best child custody arrangement. These days, father’s rights as parents are fully recognized by most courts and chances are good, barring a major issue like drug use or abuse, you will probably end up in some kind of joint custody arrangement of your children. The days of women having sole custody of children are over, which is good news for both kids and dads.
Divorce rights for men also cover issues such as restraining orders, which are clearly necessary for men who are divorcing controlling, emotionally abusive and/or physically brutalizing wives. And yes, it does happen. A restraining order is a possibility for you during the divorce proceedings if you can satisfy the restraining order criterion set forth in your state statutes. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s best to seek the help of a lawyer familiar with this issue.
One divorce right many men don’t think about is that they have the right in most states to get a court order that freezes assets. This is important when you think there is any possibility that your soon-to-be-ex may liquidate funds or close bank accounts. Keep in mind that even with one of these financial restraining orders on place, your ex can still violate the order, and once the money is gone, it’s gone for good. Its’ best to talk to a lawyer about a financial restraining order of you have assets that need to be protected during the divorce process.
You may harbor the idea that you have a right to stop your divorce. But that is not a right you have unless both parties agree. Once a divorce proceeding is initiated, it will proceed. Once you file for divorce, your marriage is no longer in your hands anymore, but in the hands of the Washington state courts.
The best way to protect yourself in the divorce process is to educate yourself about the process in every way you can. You only have one shot at a fair divorce, so learn as much you can about your divorce rights as soon as you make the decision to leave your marriage. And if you are the recipient of divorce papers, time is of the essence. You need information about your divorce rights, and you need it quickly!