Men’s Rights During a Divorce
Many men are clueless as to the rights and obligations that they have in a divorce.
Many think that they will get taken to the cleaners like all of their friends, and simply
have to accept the terms that the wife offers. This is a common misconception and
simply is not true. Men have all of the rights that women have including the right to
custody and visitation of their children, a fair distribution of assets, fair distribution of
all debts, maintenance and child support.
The problem lies in the factual reality that most men are the primary breadwinners,
and most women have been the primary caretakers of the children. Under the law,
the spouse who is financially dependent and unable to independently take care of his
or her financial needs, will have at least a claim to temporary maintenance. Debts are
often split in proportion to the party’s gross Incomes.
Similarly, because most women have been the primary caretakers of the children
regardless of whether or not they have been stay at home mothers, in applying the
best interest standard to custody issues, the children will most likely remain with the
If the roles happen to be reversed, it is not uncommon for the man to remain the
primary caretaker of the children and to seek maintenance from the wife. Each
situation is different and is factually driven. In “traditional” families, the trend in
divorce cases has been for the man to receive substantial parenting time and get joint
decision making of the children. The trend has been away from granting the wife
permanent maintenance unless there are unusual circumstances such as a marriage of
long duration, an uneducated wife who is a low wage earner as contrasted with a high
wage earning husband, or a party who is permanently physically or mentally disabled.
and unable to support themselves.