This article assumes that you face a breakup, see signs of a breakup in the future, or have realized that you wish to break up with a girl who has the opportunity to legally pursue asset settlements, child support, or child custody processes against you.

Every situation is different, of course, and requires different tactics. Different jurisdictions, family structures, financial circumstances and personal preferences lead to different issues and different outcomes. The point of this article is not to detail specific tactics to use but to set the tone and mentally prepare for what may be a coming battle.

Just to make it clear, I am not a qualified lawyer, this is not official legal advice, just a guide. I have to advise you to consult a lawyer, even though it probably won’t help much anyway.

1. Get the right paradigm

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Switch to a business-like approach

Understand that this should not be treated as an emotional crisis or a crisis of love. Once that hammer falls and it’s over, this is a business process and a legal process—treat it that way. One reason divorce rape is so devastating for men is that they are still playing with their hearts and not with their heads.

Instead try to imagine it as a game you want to win. The rules of games are not always sensible or fair, but they exist and have to be dealt with. Maybe you have lawyers chasing you, lies are being told, and unfair laws being used against you. That’s a setback and it’s sad, but don’t take it personally. Think rationally about what is the best chance of getting back in the game on the best terms that are available to you.

The rules are stacked against men, but that’s no excuse for sitting down and crying. Cool off, fight back, win, then it will seem quite satisfying to consider it a personal matter, not before.

2. Moral armament

Many men feel paralyzed in the face of the law. They can’t quite bring themselves to fight to the limit because they don’t feel morally empowered to do so. Don’t take that attitude. Just because it’s law doesn’t mean it is just. If the laws are being used against you are immoral there is no reason to feel bound by morality. It’s called the principal of self defense.

When attacked it is acceptable to respond in kind. If you are mugged by a man with a knife it’s probably not a good idea to fight back physically, but there is no moral obligation to mention the cash in your back pocket either. Take the same attitude to the government in this situation. They are trying to steal your hard-won assets as a property settlement, your hard earned income as child support, and take your children away from you.

They will not give you the things a man should be rightfully entitled to in return. Don’t feel obliged to be open, generous, reasonable or honorable in the face of straight out theft.


3. Learn the rules

Family law is a labyrinth of rules, regulations and precedents. The more you personally know, the better the chances of coming out in a good position. Lawyers can help, but don’t rely on them. If you put yourself in the hands of a lawyer fully, that will usually just mean waiting passively for the system to grind expensively to its conclusion. It won’t be presented that way, but that is what will happen.

That will be just fine for the lawyer, but not for you. Many of the best tactics will be outside their sphere of interest or not acceptable for them to mention, so they won’t mention them. Start learning the rules of the game, personally. Think of it as a second job or a night course, it’s that important. Legal systems are usually hopelessly slow, clumsy, and imprecise. Know when, where, and how you can take advantage of those weaknesses.

4. Think outside the box and hit the ground running

Passivity, despair and fatalism are great enemies in this fight. The law will assume that most circumstances are fixed, but they don’t have to be. Don’t sit and wait for things to happen, make them happen. In many jurisdictions matters take a long time to be settled, so hustle while you wait.

Start drawing money out of accounts as soon as it’s certain to be over. Change your apparent family structure, work and living arrangements to your advantage. Possession is most of the law, so get as many assets and family members into your possession as possible.

Starve her of funds. Find ways to reduce your legal income. Make payments in advance to hide assets. Arrange to have or claim to have other dependents you have to support. Escape to another jurisdiction along with your money. Never agree to any request without getting something in return, even if it seems reasonable in isolation. Don’t overlook small gains, they add up. The specific tactics are not the point here. The point is to do something. There are many ways to improve your position, so start doing them right now and don’t stop.

This doesn’t have to be the end—learn to adapt

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The end of one era is just the beginning of another

Men who feel that their lives are over after a divorce are usually those whose lives were over before their divorce. People who thought that they shouldn’t need to adapt to circumstances and that their future was just going to be more of the same.

There are other jobs. There are other towns. There are other girls. There are other opportunities. There are even other countries. Some of these options will lead to a good life after a divorce. Work out which ones those are, then go and get some.

Read More: Why The U.S. Divorce Rate Is Not Important

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