If you're thinking about filing for divorce, here are some important divorce tips for men to consider.
Have a plan for what you'll do after the divorce
When things get rocky in a marriage and a person is contemplating divorce the best thing they can do is to have a plan. I don't mean a slick legal trickery plan but a practical life plan. Where will I live if the court orders me out of the house? How much monthly maintenance (alimony) can I afford? How often do I want to see the children or should the children live with me? IF the answers right now are "I don't know" then you don't have a plan.
Be involved with your children
There is nothing more important then being involved with your children if you want to stay involved after the divorce is final. Go to sports games. Go to Doctor's appointments. Take the kids for a daddy kids weekend. Go to parent teacher conferences. Take on some of the responsibilities of bathing, feeding, homework helping, etc. In most cases it is unrealistic to expect the court to give you more time with the children if you can't show you already were spending significant time with the children.
Get a clean bill of health
If you believe your wife or the attorney your wife hires will lie about you then plan for it. IF you have a beer on occasion she may accuse you of having a substance abuse problem. Go and get an assessment. If you punched a door 5 years ago when you got mad then go get an anger management assessment. IF any of the assessments suggest you should have counseling then go and get the counseling. Take away your spouse's legal weapons and ammo.
Avoid the domestic yiolence angle
Increasingly a woman will file for a domestic violence restraining order prior to filing for divorce. Don't give her any reason or ammo to do this. If you get upset walk away. Go sit in the rain outside until you calm down. The law in Washington is clear; harmful or offensive touching or the imminent threat of harmful or offensive touching. Punch a wall in another room? Then you are giving your wife grounds to get a DV order against you. Throw something in her general direction? Grounds. Avoid it, make sure if she is going to claim DV then make sure the claims are 100% false or she will get the order.
If you get a DV order put on you, don't panic
Although a domestic violence restraining order will make contact with your soon to be ex-wife a crime for one year the issues surrounding visiting your children or dividing the property can and should be handled in the Divorce (Dissolution) proceeding.
Do NOT leave the house
Unless there is a court order in place that states you can no longer be in the house, then don't leave. Once you leave it is very unlikely you will ever get back in. Offer to rent your disgruntled wife an apartment where she can get away. Have her take the furniture she wants. Let her know she is welcome in the house with you and the kids at any time. Do NOT leave the house.
Start saving money
Open a new savings account that just you have access to. You will want to save around $5,000 to retain an attorney. You will have to disclose the bank account during the divorce proceedings but don't let that stop you from saving that money ahead of time. Also all your bank records will be fair game. Do NOT take out ATM cash advances at Casinos or other places you don't want a judge to see you taking money out at.
Start developing a social network
Nothing I can think of is more stressful then a divorce (dissolution). You will need good friends who you can lean on and get strength from. However, choose carefully. Make sure your new friends don't have issues with drugs or alcohol. Make sure your new friends have not been convicted of any crimes in the last 10 years. Make sure they are NOT registered sex offenders. You will be guilty by association in the court if you make these types of friends. (Not literally guilty, but you get the point).
Do NOT get a new girlfriend right away
As a matter of fact if you have the children don't even have sleep overs with other women. Believe me, I understand that is asking a lot. However, the Judge is going to want to see that you are focused on the children and the stability they will need. Every decision you make should start with "How will this impact the children".
If you don't have children then GO NUTS!!!! Washington is a no fault divorce state so if you don't have any children then date and do what you want. Just keep in mind that every dollar they can "prove" you spent on another woman they will want for your soon to be ex-spouse.
Hire the right attorney
Attorneys are not all the same. You should call a few, and if you can afford it have a consultation with a few lawyers to make sure you can work with the lawyer. The average time for a divorce from beginning to end in my office is about a year. This is a long time to work with an attorney if you don't respect and get along with them. Then there is the money. Why pay so much unless you know you made a good decision in who you have hired?
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