Is the divorce process unfair to men?Joanna Craig
I make no apologies for revisiting this issue as it does seem to be a common concern. There is a widespread perception that with the divorce process and any issue or argument over children, particularly if it is conducted through the courts, favours women. Is this correct?
The courts, when dealing with children, have as their primary concern the welfare of the children. A fairly neutral position and certainly one that is supposedly child focused as opposed to looking after the interests of either parent.
Similarly, if the issue of finances is debated through the courts, then again the court would take a position that both parties to a divorce need to be adequately re-housed and that both parents have to have accommodation suitable for their children to visit. So why is there this widespread perception that men do badly in divorce, or that the whole process is unfair and biased in some way against them?
It may be in some way related to the other statistic, which is that most divorces are commenced by women. This may have something to do with the fact that women tend to want to do something about a situation that is unsatisfactory, whereas men are more prepared to put up with a degree of difficulty, provided house, home, pension, finances, remain intact – when these are all disturbed they take it rather badly.
Many men feel that they have worked all their lives to achieve a certain standard of living, and with that, an adequate or even good pension provision. Obviously a divorce means that the family home may well have to be sold and the sale proceeds distributed, therefore both are in a smaller house, and the highly prized pension pot is also split. If you are not the instigator of the divorce, you may feel very badly indeed when all these things happen to you, seemingly through no fault of your own – and if your wife is in a new relationship then the pill is even more bitter.
However, if you can step back from the situation, the courts really do try to be even-handed and if you avoid the courts altogether, so much the better. By using mediation and a collaborative approach to divorce, the focus is on how both parents are going to manage their separation to avoid any damage to the children and to ensure as far as possible, that everyone continues to have a similar lifestyle afterwards. It cannot be avoided that both parties will be worse off financially as a result of the divorce, but through mediation, there is the real prospect that both parties will feel they’ve had a fair and workable outcome.
For more information or to discuss further please contact Nicky Gough on 07711 527968 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.