One of the highlights of my day is avidly reading the articles on ROK and similar sites. Having recently been through the divorce wringer myself, I was interested to read about the trials of my northern brothers and decided to write about my experience. I’m not a lawyer so don’t quote me, and this is a casual discussion, so I won’t include references.
I’m 50 years old. I was with my former wife for 23 years and I have three kids. She was an attractive slim girl who had a few boyfriends and flings before we met, but she did want to settle down, buy a house, and have a family one day. Additionally, she did not remain in contact with her exes nor flirt with other men despite her attractiveness, unlike most of her contemporaries today.
When we met she was struggling with university and work so I lent her my spare car to save her the hassle of catching buses etc, and she genuinely appreciated it! Displaying that sort of kindness weakness today will see you ruthlessly exploited.
It was basically a successful marriage with only the last three years being toxic. I threw myself into work and study, getting out of debt and investing for the future but in truth I had become an ogre, unbalanced and obsessive.
We had grown apart, yet I was clueless and taken completely by surprise when she announced one morning that we were done. That was a difficult time for me, the first month I was basically paralysed and could not so much as remember the pin on my phone.
Divorce, Australian style
Despite mirroring the US in obesity, promiscuity and repellent behaviour in general, about one third of marriages here fail, and the system, although shitty, is fairer to fathers for the most part compared to the US.
Most splits here are initiated by the women and she can walk out on you for any reason… or no reason at all. Once you separate, all assets are placed into a pool and are divided with the women usually getting about 60-65% if there are kids and she works. If she is a stay at home mum she will get more so watch it! Assets held before the marriage can be exempt but documentation is key.
You can’t get a divorce until you have been separated for a year and this time is well spent cooling off, moving on, and working out logistics with the ex.
During my divorce I consulted many lawyers, taking advantage of their free half hour consultation during our first meeting. I got a feel for the process and learned that most settlements fall into the 60/40 split noted above, and to fight that would be very expensive and time consuming. As a result, most men I know cough up and avoid court altogether, saving tons of money and aggro. Much better for the kids too.
There is no alimony in Australia, but if there is a large income disparity between the parties, you may have to pay her “spouse maintenance” for a time. This is not a perpetual impost, and is usually limited to two years or so. The ex is required to retrain, become gainfully employed, and so on during that time.
I have only heard of one man who had to pay his ex-spouse maintenance and that was because she did not work. Staying home with the kids is great for their development and wellbeing but get her back into the workforce when the kids are in high school or else you could be slugged!
Child support is based on each parent’s income and their portion of care. Fathers basically have equal access rights as the mother, so you will get 50% custody if you want (unless you have been bad), and as a bonus you will not go to prison if you can’t pay her! You can’t avoid the debt by going bankrupt, but if business is bad, or you lose your job, or go back to school, your obligations are reduced as a result.
Child support is also capped at about 2.5 times average earnings, so this is great news for wealthy alpha men and high achievers. Australian family law is controlled federally so there are no idiosyncratic state regulations to ambush you.
Being married or living together makes no difference to your access rights or obligations to your kids and once you have lived with her for two years she has a claim on your assets, so watch this and make her sign a binding financial agreement! These aren’t watertight however, especially when children appear, and the court can overturn or amend them. The informal advice I have though is that BFA’s or pre-nups are worth the expense.
So how have I fared after my divorce?
Aside from trying to marry a couple of completely unsuitable women (future article perhaps), I am happier. I have more free time and am rebuilding my finances. I am studying, getting serious about my small business and hitting my fitness goals. It is obviously a traumatic and expensive experience, but I have my kids about half the time now and as a result have more leisure, and enjoy seeing them these days.
5 things I have learned
1. People change a hell of a lot between their mid 20’s to mid-40’s and most of the time they drift apart.
2. Smart phones, social media, obesity, and the poisonous politics of our age make it much harder to find a suitable woman, court her, and keep her.
3. Your kids are your long-term assets and you will derive ferocious satisfaction inoculating them against the new age crap they bring home from school.
4. Every man must work on himself if he wants to compete.
5. Demography is destiny.
I don’t know if I’ll get married again but I am sure as hell happy that I gave it my best shot.
The internet is a powerful medium for change, both good and bad, and the rapid pace of our age can work in our favour, so keep up the great work at ROK.