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Dr. Helen

Shawn Smith, author of The User’s Guide to the Human Mind: Why Our Brains Make Us Unhappy, Anxious, and Neurotic and What We Can Do about It emails me with some thoughts after reading Men on Strike:

The bias against men in divorce and family law causes direct damage in some relationships. I’ve known dozens of men who choose to tolerate awful treatment from their wives because their only alternative is a divorce that promises financial ruin and part-time fatherhood.

There is a reduced incentive for a woman of immature or low character to monitor her behavior if she stands to profit from divorce. It’s like having a job in which she will win the lottery if she gets fired. The courts have established a moral hazard for which men pay the price.

The behavior I’ve seen from these handful of women would be considered plainly abusive if roles were reversed: mental torment, double-binds, denial of affection, drunken rages, cruel and abusive language, physical abuse, and isolating the man from his friends and family. That last one seems to be particularly common in these relationships. When a man isolates a women, it is rightly considered to be one of the telltale signs of an abusive relationship. It should be considered no less abusive when a woman does it to a man.

If the burden of divorce were more equitably shared, these men would have standing to push for changes in behavior, and the women in their lives would have an incentive to raise their maturity level, improve their communication, and beef up their coping skills. Not so ironically, the possibility of a painful divorce can lead to better behavior, which leads to healthier relationships. But as it stands, men who choose their wives poorly might pay the price for decades (along with any children who are involved) because the courts not only allow for bad behavior from abusive women, they indirectly encourage it.

Now men are stuck in bad marriages and no one cares–not even other men who often tell the guy they picked poorly and its his fault. No man should be stuck in a marriage because he “picked poorly.” This is ludicrous, and sometimes or often during a marriage, people change. What used to look cute becomes abuse. Women used to stay in marriages because they could not afford to go elsewhere. Now men are going through the same, or often worse as they lose their children or are charged with abuse or anything the women and courts decide is fair game. Divorce laws must be changed to become more equitable so that marriage isn’t literally a ball and chain for a man. Until then, many men will avoid taking the risk and with good reason.

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Top Rated Comments   
"Perhaps this willingness to tolerate the (sometimes) abominable behaviour women is the mistake we all make."

Tolerating bad behaviour is a mistake, to be sure, but it's not THE mistake we all make.

What is THE mistake made by men, where it comes to marriage?

There isn't just one, but we can comfortably allow for two closely related mistakes:

The first is misjudging the woman into whose eyes - or whatever feature we fixate upon - we're gazing.
The second is assuming that there will be fairness if things don't work out.

Having made those two mistakes leaves a man at a woman's mercy.

36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
as dalrock called it, "overcivilized men, uncivilized women."

all of the responsibilities rest on the shoulders of men, and all of the benefits have been transferred exclusively to women. now, men are stepping out of the rigged system and women are whining louder than ever.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
The pathetic treatment of husbands by wives was written about by Jennifer Morse.

http://townhall.com/columnists/jenniferrobackmorse/2006/05/09/sleeping_in_the_basement

I really don't understand why this is happening. I know from my own perspective that men want to love their wives and will do anything for them. I also know that by loving their woman men will tolerate behaviour that they wouldn't from anyone else.

So what is happening? Where does love go? Surely a woman must have in the beginning at least loved her fiance in order to commit to him? And why would a woman treat someone that loves her deeply in such a shabby manner?

Perhaps this willingness to tolerate the (sometimes) abominable behaviour women is the mistake we all make.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (48)
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Some advice for men stuck in an awful marriage because of fear of family court:

First - Let go of the pride and drop the shame reflex. You'll never be anything more than an abusive loser deadbeat doofus no matter what you do, so expect the worst and don't try to be noble or honorable. You have to look after your own interests against all odds so be prepared to employ some long term strategies that might ago against your normal values. These strategies might take a couple few years to implement before you file for divorce but at least there will be light at the end of the tunnel.

STOP WORKING SO HARD. Reduce your earnings as much as possible. The courts will use the past couple years of earnings to decide how much you will have to pay your ex. Stop working overtime. The more money you make the more you pay in taxes to help support this system that is giving you the shaft so just quit playing their game. If your income is low enough you can get government subsidies such as earned income credits, food stamps, medical plan subsidies etc etc to make up the difference of what you earned before and wont count against you in the child support/alimony calculation. This will also reduce your wife's incentive to file for divorce to run off with the loot, so to speak.

The family court judge may try to impute your earning potential and award your wife child support/alimony based on that. Come up with a good reason for the drop off in earnings. Go to your doctor and complain that you are having problems with stress and anxiety. If your wife's behavior is as bad as some of them, this is probably true anyway. Get a prescription if you can - you don't actually have to take it. If you get an opportunity to complain to a medical professional, such as a doctor or psychologist, about how your wife's behavior is negatively affecting your mental health, then do it. Get it on record.

Don't let your wife be a 'stay at home' mom. Put her to work making money. Every dollar that she makes is one less dollar that you'll have to pay in the divorce settlement. If she won't work, don't brow beat her....just encourage her by saying that she will feel more fulfilled and satisfied etc. Tell her she can spend her money on herself to buy all the nice things that you can't afford to buy her. Also use this as an excuse to get separate bank accounts so her money will be under her control.

Try to hold out until the kids are older before you file. This will minimize the damage to them and some states allow children who are a certain age (12 eg) to decide for themselves which parent they want to stay with primarily. If your wife is an out of control loon, the kids will probably also be negatively affected and will increase your chances that you will get primary, or at least joint, custody.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Be prepared to go to the mat. It's ugly, nasty, petty and vindictive. Realize that *anything* you say and do will be misrepresented and used against you - and those rules do NOT apply to her. No matter what happens, if you respond in kind, you'll be the one labeled as the bad actor. Don't fall for it - you need a perfect record of no retaliation. It's not fair that they'll ignore the crap she does, but they will certainly hold you to a higher standard - otherwise you're "being mean to the girl". Consider yourself in a fight with an adult child, and realize where the blame will be placed - your assailant has the public's sympathy, you don't.

Always, ALWAYS carry a recorder. Presume you're being recorded, in return, and if anyone asks, you're recording yourself to prove your innocence. Log where you're at. Keep receipts. Look out for 'new people' that pop over for a visit just as the other party instigates a conflict. Don't meet face to face without a favorable, or at least impartial, witness. Learn where cameras are - family court requires men prove they are NOT threatening, violent or abusive - there is no presumption of innocence.

I've heard lawyers argue that you shouldn't leave your house. I have yet to hear any competent advice regarding what to do when your spouse is assaulting you, or when she arbitrarily calls the cops on you to play the DV card.

Once the divorce filing has started, don't cave. Don't get in a situation where you file, relent, then find yourself either re-filing, or responding to a new suit - all you're doing is giving her attorney the opportunity to reduce her exposure and increase yours, and will allow her to establish you as the bad actor.

If you're being abused, assaulted, controlled - tell people, especially professionals. After the filing is effectively too late, because she can/will claim the same. Keep a diary (off site and out of reach).
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
"I've heard lawyers argue that you shouldn't leave your house. I have yet to hear any competent advice regarding what to do when your spouse is assaulting you, or when she arbitrarily calls the cops on you to play the DV card."

Another catch 22....If you leave the house to try to get away from and diffuse the situation, you are abandoning your house and family and will not do well in divorce court.

If you stay and your wife calls the cops on you out of spite, you will be removed from the house and humiliated in your driveway in front of all the neighbors, have a DV call on your record, maybe be arrested, and you will not do well in divorce court.

Men don't have any safe exits ... and state sponsored marriage laws are the reason.

Why does the state still provide for this grossly unjust and coercive legal arrangement in this age of equality between the sexes? The state has already admitted that it has no legitimate interest in keeping couples together when it legislated no-fault divorce and when the supreme court made rulings for abortion rights and against adultery laws. Let couples tailor their own legal arrangements according to their own comfort level and risk tolerance. Men and women should both have safe exits from destructive and vindictive relationships. Legal obligations for your children is a separate issue but also men should have the same reproductive rights that women have.

If people are so attached to the notion of "marriage", then they can still get married in church, but without any legal penalties automatically attached. The bible doesn't say that marriage is only valid after you get a license from Caesar.

Men and women need to stop trying to fix the system, and instead they should upend it. If women won't help, then men need to do it alone...not just in the US but all across the western world.

35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Absolutely great advice.

A lot of men who think they are married to a sweet, nice woman are later shocked to find out how vindictive she can be in court, and the extent to which she goes for the throat. "I never thought my Linda could be like this."

In one case that was appealed and that is even in law books, a woman separated from her husband and moved to the most favorable state for divorce. After the residency period, she then called her husband, said she wanted to reconcile and she really wanted to have sex. The husband (the dolt) went out to be with her and was served the papers for the divorce. The wife then naturally told him to get lost, and she would file a restraining order if he attempted to talk to her again.

Nice.

35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
And, by the way, the gentle women who "don't even think about money - all you need is love" can be the most brutal for dredging every possible cent out of you in court.

Most women are fairly sharp in that way, and most men are completely stupid in that way. They don't get it. They have enough brains to mostly earn the money that is going to be "distributed", but they don't have enough brains or cunningness to be that hell-bent on getting every cent.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
They also have attorneys that maximize the strife to maximize their own take from the marital estate. It may be something that the law will recognaize as his, but if the attorney makes it expensive to defend it, the pragmatic response may be to just capitulate to get out from the really onerous temporary orders, which really tend to favor women.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am not changing the story. My point has been consistent throughout. The best way for a man to protect his money is to set up an LLC.

Thie money deposited into the corporate account becomes corporate funds, and any assets purchased by the LLC become corporate properties. Simply recycle any profits or earnings made back into the corporate account and grow wealth. As long as all the money deposited into the corporate account is purely personal funds or corporate profits, it remains a separate and distinct entity from the marriage institution.

You guys seem to be under the mistaken delusion that once married, a man must deposit all of his income and earnings into a joint account shared by his wife. In other words, dump all of your money into one account and let the court divide it up during the inevitable divorce. Like that's a solution to the real problem. By this line of thinking lies the road to destitution.

There is a simple way around this problem. Set up an LLC and keep corporate funds completely separate from community funds. It's tricky, but it works. Corporate funds, assets and properties cannot be divided up in a divorce, because they are not community funds, assets and properties.

Look, if you're so stupid that you deposit all of your paycheck into the shared account, that money becomes community funds. If you then write a check from that account and deposit it into the corporate account, the entire corporation, all of it, immediately then become community funds, assets and properties, to which she entitled to half of. But if you do not do that, the corporation remains separate and distinct from the marriage institution, and thus cannot be considered during divorce proceedings.

I misspoke earlier when I said that you should deposit 50% of corporate earnings into the shared account. That would be a mistake, because corporate earnings are not part of your earnings, rather they are corporate earnings and thus should be deposited back into the corporate account. You must keep corporate funds completely separate from community funds at all times, so that they are unassailable during the inevitable divorce.

How do you do that? Well, you set up the LLC and open the corporate account at one bank. And if you do get married, you open the community acount at another bank. Endorse every paycheck to cash. That way it is not deposited in either account. 50% is yours, 50% is hers. Keep a little spending money for yourself and deposit the rest into the corporate account, then take her 50% and deposit it into the shared account. There nothing to prevent her from doing the same.

Anything bought with community funds, such as a house, is community property. Only community funds, assets and properties can be divided up during the inevitable divorce. And believe me, the court will butcher them in her favor.

But if you are careful and keep corporate funds, earnings, assets, and properties completely separate, you can walk out of a messy divorce with your money intact. You will not be destitute. But if you ever commingle the two accounts in any way, you're screwed.

This is the beauty of a Limited Liability Corporation. It is a separate and distinct entity, as long as you keep it that way. The purpose of an LLC is to shield you from liability.

Just set it up, keep it independent and let it do its thing, which is to purchase income earning assets and properties. Deposit into the corporate account only personal funds, never community funds, and deposit all corporate profits and earnings back into the corporate account. In this way, she is not entitled to any of it in any way.

She didn't marry the corporation. She married you. She is entitled to 50% of your personal income and earnings, so that's what you deposit into the shared account. You are entitled to 50% of her income and earnings, which is all she is required to deposit into the shared account. What she does with her remaining 50% is her business, not yours. What you do with your remaining 50% is your business, not hers.

As long as you keep the LLC separate and distinct, she has no claim to any of it whatsoever. It's personal property. That money, those assets and properties, are protected and cannot be considered in the divorce settlement. She may not like it, the idea that you have money, assets and properties, that she can't get her claws into, but that's her problem. There's nothing she can do about it. Corporate funds are not community funds.

It is your money not hers. Let the court tear up the community funds, assets and properties. Let her have what she is entitled to. Then walk away knowing that your LLC is growing wealth, purchasing income generating assets and properties.

She may break your heart. But in this way, she won't leave you broke.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've been down on marriage for a long time but the debates about gay marriage really brought the insanity of marriage into focus for me. Two dudes...two strangers...get a state sponsored "marriage" license, and all of a sudden one of them is entitled to half or more of the others dudes stuff, and even retirement plans and FUTURE earnings, without any obligations on his own part, and can unilaterally decide to walk off with it anytime they want to. They can even claim that they've really gotten used to the nice lifestyle that the other dude's hard work has provided and get a court to force the dude to keep providing it for him well into the future. HOW INSANE IS THAT?! That's exactly how I see heterosexual marriage as well. Whatever "marriage" might have been in the past, it isn't that now.

It isn't about 'exclusive monogamy' since the supreme court ruled that laws against adultery are unconstitutional.

It isn't about 'permanence', especially since no-fault divorce allows one party to end the legal arrangement unilaterally regardless of how the other party lived up to the terms of the agreement.

It isn't about 'raising a family' since the supreme court ruled that the female party can abort all of the children from the marriage regardless of the wishes of the male party.

I think that state sponsored marriage should be ended. Many people who get into this legal arrangement don't properly understand the consequences of what they are doing and their lack of rights, both during the marriage, and after it ends. They think that as long as they do everything right, but the other person "flakes out" on them, they will be treated justly and fairly in divorce court but they are wrong.

Marriage is heavily influenced by politics and the terms can be changed on you after you enter into it. It is inviting politicians, special interest groups, and social engineers into your relationship and giving them control. You just know that there can never be any good come from that. I think that state sponsored marriage should be ended and laws changed to allow people to form domestic realtionships on terms of their own choosing. If they want to stay together, then they can stay together...if one wants to end the relationship, then they should be able to end it and only be subject to the terms that they agreed to with their eyes wide open.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've been reading Instapundit and Dr Helen for years, and I just think you must not be writing about divorce laws in CA. I'm a woman whose husband was convicted by a jury in criminal court of raping me, yet in family court, since I was the breadwinner, he was awarded spousal support, legal fees, and immediate reunification with our kids once he is released from his 6yr prison sentence. I've been fighting like hell for the past 5yrs to protect my boys from having to be reunited with this crazy man who almost killed me, and who I believe will try to kill me again...which means he's also a danger to the kids. I had to go all the way to the Appeals Court to overturn the order to immediately reunite the kids with him, which I was finally victorious on. But think about it, if a man who is a violent sexual felon in prison has no problem getting every single right afforded to him via the "gender-neutral" divorce laws in CA, what problem does a regular guy seeking a divorce have? I'm thinking if 40% of women are indeed the breadwinners now, what are the guys complaining about? They'll run the dissomaster, a number will come out, and guys will start getting paid. I honestly have no idea who these men are complaining about marriage being a raw deal. I can't find a man who makes more money then me anyway, and I won't make that mistake again.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sorry, CaliCrystal, I smell several big rats with your story. Just sayin'. In hyperfeminist California, where women can do no wrong and men are evil, to claim this kind of shellacking just doesn't add up.

I was also a correctional officer in another state, and knew firsthand an inmate convicted of spousal rape. The system gave him no sympathy even though his wife was cheating on him at the time she accused him and had him arrested and had obvious motive to lie (I confirmed this elsewhere, as his case had hit some alternative websites that check out the story).

Eminem: "Not a jealous man, but females lie."
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just google AB1522 to see the law I had passed last year to see more about my case. I don't know what you mean by "big rats". My case made national and international attention because of how crazy the Judge was in my case.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think the *only* reason the laws are changing (or that anyone cares) is because it's now becoming a problem for women:

either they're getting stuck with alimony and child support (still not in any meaningful way, aside from celebs)

they're the 2nd wife and the first shrew is making *their* life hell along with her husband's,

or they're finding men are refusing to put the bridle on and are reducing their target profile. Why bother suing men for paternity who have no money?

Crystal - we men have to deal with vindictive ex's, too. It's just that women will use other men (the new boyfriend), the police or social services to do their dirty work. I understand your frustration with a system that refuses to *pay attention* to determine who's the bad actor. IMHO, the system shouldn't be set up to reward deadbeats or professional victims of either gender. FWIW, no one who's for equal/shared parenting thinks that this should hold for cases where DV or other malfeasance has been proven.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Should men be happy with injustice because it's starting to happen to more women now? No...it's wrong when it happens to men and it's wrong if it happens to women as well.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
No, Palto, that is not a false statement.

If a man sets up an LLC with personal funds prior to marriage, it is his personal property. And personal property does not become community property upon mariiage, anymore than the car he's driving or the antique dining room set he inherited from his grandmother does. Personal property remains personal property. Only property bought with community funds is community property.

If you set up an LLC using community funds, then yes it is community property and is divisible in divorce court. There's no denying that. But if the LLC was set up with prersonal funds and is only funded by personal funds, not community funds, then it remains personal property and is not divisible in divorce court.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Now you're changing the story. Of course funds held before marriage belong to that party (and inheritances).

You were talking about earnings during the marriage before, and now you saw that I was right in Google, so you tried to change it to pre-marriage funds.

Friggin' weasel.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
" Passive Men , Wild Women " Pierre Mornell MD . Read it . Live it .
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
I worked and supported my ex-wife while she went through nursing school. She got a job and started making several dollars an hour more than me in my IT computer career. She'd come home and tell me of all the people hosptial that constantly told her of how important she was and significant her career was. She gradually increased the number of passive aggressive comments in derision to my choice of job and wages. You know, the job and choices that got her college and into her career. In effect it became mental abuse because to a certain point there was nothing I did anymore that was the correct action or proper response to anything. Till one day she said that she just couldn't be with someone that didn't make as much money as her. I didn't realize that it was some contest to see who could earn the most money. I didn't realize I had committed to someone that was so shallow and materialistic. I shut her out emotionally and physically at that point and at the end of that year she packed up her stuff and moved out ending our 8 year relationship. That was about 4 years ago and just last month she called me with some bogus excuse about some question about her car but the conversation quickly turned to telling me that she was engaged and was about to get married. And of course she had to slip in there that her new man was a finance manager at JP Morgan Chase. So, she finally found her Mr. Money Bags. But even after all this time she still had to come back around and mentally assault me with this show boating, self-aggrandizing behavior. Good luck to whom ever this dude is that she duped into being with her. Because the girl I knew when we first got together ended up not being the same person that I understood after I really saw who she was. I've no doubt that she's pulled the same stunt on him as well.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hi Joe, Thank your lucky stars that you're rid of that gold digger. Two thoughts though, and the first is that despite what happened she's still in to you, otherwise she would not have bothered calling at all. Second, if you branch out into programming in say some of the more arcane disciplines, you can make a lot of money. I used to hire consultants for very specialized work, such as for Linux device drivers or networking specialists and the very best of them charged $130 to $150 per hour. That was before the recession though and so rates have gone down considerably since then but I did notice that they're starting to creep up again. It will take you anywhere from 3 to 5 years or more of specialization before you can even begin to charge those kinds of rates, but once you do, you can make your ex's banker hubby look poor.

Anyway, give it a thought, and take some time to research the area you want to go into and then go for it.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
That should be, "all the people at the hospital".....
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
If they didn't have a vagina, there'd be a bounty on them!
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think socialist countries become more feminized as they go further and further down the road to complete poverty. case in point: year or so ago I remember reading about a couple of divorced brits. been divorced a long time. no kids. both remarried many years to other people. he wins the lottery. he owed her nothing and yet she gets a hefty cut (millions$) in a court award. kinda like the permanent alimony screwing men get in the u.s., only w/ a really big hidden one. guess not having weapons allows such brazen thievery by the 'most honorable'. it really is amazing more men don't react badly to being ravaged by the courts.

Men's Rights Activists have been predicting the destruction of marriage for decades. this bad behavior by the family courts has been going on since at least the early '70's. just another casualty of feminism, like the family, the unborn and sanity.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
The mistake I made was being the only one who respect the idea of taking a solemn vowel. When WE used my bonus to put down payment on the first house. When WE paid for my wife to get her associates, bachelors, masters and CPA and help get to her summacum laude achievements while raising 4 sons. Then my next bonus got the big deposit for the mini mansion on 2 acres and 5000 Square feet home. Then when WE were getting to easy street, WE becomes wife wanting out. WE grew apart. I gave her the house, the last 2 kids and traveled 2700 to get away. Never, ever, ever again. Now let's talk child support? I gave you a 500,000 dollar house. Unbelievable!!
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
A "solemn vowel"? You obviously meant "vow", but I like the term. You just have to know that for women in general the solemn vowel is "I". :)
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
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