Men, Husbands, and Fathers: Four Myths that are Bad Pieces of Advice You’ll Hear Before, During, and After a Divorce

Divorce is a time when you’re guaranteed to get bad advice from all angles. Whether the advice comes from an attempt to provide comfort or ‘just trying to help,’ men tend to give each other some pretty bad advice in dealing with divorce. Some of it comes from friends or family who have made mistakes they want to share while other “tips” may actually come from people in the legal field who really do believe in limitations on men’s rights in divorce.

Such advice is usually well-intended, but it can be harmful. As a Texas divorce attorney who is committed to helping professional men protect their assets and personal relationships before, during, and even after divorce, I can tell you that there are four pieces of advice you should take with a grain of salt:

The Myth: “Leave the House.”

The reality: Watch any movie about a divorcing couple and you’ll almost always see the husband moving out as soon as it becomes obvious that the marriage is over. Take comfort in knowing that your life does not have to imitate art. Although you may be told that it is the right and chivalrous thing to do, or you believe it will placate your spouse and make her more amicable during future settlement negotiations, be wary when it comes to leaving the home before there are Temporary Orders in place. Your leaving might be setting up a presumption that your spouse should have primary possession of your children. Additionally, you may also be making yourself financially responsible for two homes at a time when money is about to get tight.

The Myth: “Hide Some Money So You Don’t Lose Everything.”

The reality: Friends who have been drained financially by their own divorces may urge you to hide some money or assets so that “she can’t clean you out.” While this may be tempting, the truth is that if you are caught doing so you will probably be penalized for committing fraud on the community. Texas family court judges frown on such conduct! The court could force you to pay more than you normally would have or even consider you to be an unfit parent in deciding possessory issues relating to your children.

Remember: Texas is a community property state. This means that there is a presumption that all property (including money) acquired during the marriage belongs to both of you. Family law courts in Harris County and Fort Bend County Texas follow the Texas Family Code when it comes to the division of community assets. You will both be entitled to a “fair and just” division of the community estate. You have the same rights to the community assets as your spouse does. So don’t hide assets – wait until there are legally binding agreements or court orders in place before you decide to move money around.

Myth: “Don’t Try For Custody; Men Never Get It.”

The Reality: This advice is at least based in some historical fact. Until recently, Texas family courts favored mothers in custody arrangements. Even today a certain amount of bias exists in some courts. But fathers have equal child custody rights under Texas law and courts have been coming around to recognizing father’s rights. All things being equal in parenting participation, courts in Harris County and Fort Bend County are now likely to find that parents should be joint conservators for their children.

If you’re a great dad who provides for his children, is actively involved with their lives, and can provide a healthy and stable home life, there is no reason why you cannot at least share custody equally with your former spouse.

Myth: “Men Don’t Seek Spousal Maintenance.”

The Reality: This is statistically true. Census figures confirm that while 40% of American households have female breadwinners, only 3% of the people receiving spousal maintenance are men. The reasons vary from pride to outright sexism on the part of some courts.

Old stereotypes die hard and there are different societal expectations for men and women, but there is no reason why you cannot seek spousal maintenance if you made financial sacrifices during the marriage to support your spouse’s career. Spousal maintenance can act as a valuable financial cushion as you build a new and independent life on your own terms.

If you are a Texas husband and father seeking a strong advocate during the divorce process, contact attorney Robert Von Dohlen at (713) 443-6730 to schedule a free consultation today. Robert understands the unique challenges that men face when their marriages end, and will ensure that your rights are not impacted by bad advice and outdated stereotypes.

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Von Dohlen Law Firm

When you work with Attorney Robert Von Dohlen, one thing about him immediately stands out: his cool and calm ability to see opportunity where others detect only roadblocks and closed doors, along with his passion to push forward to achieve a successful outcome for his clients.