I make no apologies for revisiting this issue as it does seem to be a common concern – see the Daily Mail article published on March 10 by Louis de Bernieres. There is a widespread perception that both with the divorce process and any issue or argument over children if it is conducted through the courts then the court 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 focussed 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 rehoused 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. So that 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. In a collaborative situation (one that does not argue through the courts at all) the focus should be on how both parents are going to manage their separation to avoid any damage to the children and to ensure that as far as possible everyone continues to have a similar lifestyle. Obviously as a result of the divorce both parties will be worse off financially, but there is the hope and every prospect that moving out of any unhappy relationship has benefits for all parties.
For more information and advice on any of these points please contact Cotswold Family Law at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01608 686590.