In divorce, it's commonly assumed that the soon-to-be ex-husband will get the short end of the stick in the divorce settlement -- whether it's losing the house or full child custody while also getting stuck with alimony and child support payments.
But men have just as much of a right to win in a divorce settlement as women do. So what men need to remember is that their behavior and actions during divorce are incredibly important. You don't want your actions to shift the favorability in the court to your spouse.
Here are the top five things men should not do when going through a divorce.
1. Do Not Move Out of Your House: Chances are you are getting divorced because you cannot stand living under the same roof as your wife. However, until a court says otherwise, the house you are living in still belongs to you so you are still allowed to live there. You will continue to contribute to the household expenses while the divorce proceedings play out. If you move out, you will have to support two households -- the one you are living in and the one you moved out of. Living together may not be an ideal situation, but it is the most cost-effective.
2. Do Not Hide Any of Your Assets: The last thing you want to do is lose your credibility in court. Some men panic and move money out of their bank accounts and into untraceable places such as overseas or in coffee cans. Once the money is discovered, you will no longer be trusted in any asset discussion in court. You should reveal everything that belongs to you so that you are viewed as honest in the court's eyes and will not lose your case due to an impulsive act of stupidity.
3. Do Not Tell Your Wife How You Really Feel About Her : Your soon-to-be ex wife may taunt you to say something that can be perceived as threatening. This "threat" could result in a restraining order and get you kicked out of your house. Do not take the bait; turn a blind eye to everything negative she may say to you. If you need to blow off steam, vent to your friends. They don't have a court case pending against you.
4. Do Not Misbehave Online: Anything on social media is fair game in a divorce case. This includes tweets, status updates, photos, etc. Set your privacy settings so that only you can see potentially incriminating information and do not post anything that could come back to haunt you in court.
5. Do Not Flaunt Your New Life : Getting involved in another relationship after you are divorced is healthy and expected. However, the key here is to wait until your divorce is final. A new girlfriend in your children's lives could negatively impact you in a divorce case. Your new life may be portrayed as unstable when it comes to child custody. Gifts that you may give a new love that are visible, such as jewelry, can easily amp up an alimony payment to your ex. For your wallet's sake, deal with the divorce, then move on.
Silvana D. Raso heads the family law practice at Englewood Cliffs, NJ-based Schepisi & McLaughlin, P.A. where she counsels clients in all areas of matrimonial and family law.