The financial devastation of men by divorce

J4MB considers committed relationships and the nuclear family to be cornerstones of a civilized society, so people are sometimes surprised that we operate the website Men shouldn’t marry. About 50% of marriages in the UK end in divorce. When men marry, they’re unlikely to be conscious of the financial devastation that may well befall them, if and when they divorce. This blog piece explains what the 50% of married men who will eventually be divorced – probably at the behest of their wives, as two-thirds of divorce applications are filed by wives –  can look forward to.

How can it be fair and just that decades after women have had the same employment opportunities as men, it’s invariably men, not women, who are financially devastated by divorce? Men tend to invest disproportionately in their careers – in plain English, men are more likely to work harder than women, and as a result earn more – and their partners benefit from their partners’ work in many ways.

It’s common knowledge that women seek partners who are better-off than themselves, or partners with good future earnings potential. Anyone with any doubt on the matter should read Steve Moxon’s excellent book The Woman Racket which cites numerous academic studies. But why should men be disadvantaged, and women advantaged, by divorce? It’s little wonder that women get so excited at the news of females friend getting engaged. Women are advantaged by marriage whether the marriage lasts, or it doesn’t. The state provides an incentive for wives to sabotage their relationships, and destroy their own families, leading to great emotional suffering of children, fathers, grandparents, and others.

In our election manifesto we’ll be covering the issue of the financial devastation of men by divorce, particularly when their ex-partners are ‘primary carers’ of their children – children to whom the men aren’t guaranteed reasonable access by the family court system, needless to say. Following the financial impact of their divorces, few men are in a position to pay the high legal costs required to have any chance of reasonable access to their children in the face of malicious ex-partners.

We’ve just received a response to a FoI request we sent recently to the Ministry of Justice, and it’s here. We’ve highlighted the pertinent areas in yellow, and they includes some material on prenuptial agreements. As I related in The Marriage Delusion: the fraud of the rings? – available from my publishing concern LPS Publishing as well as smaller outlets e.g. Amazon – the first recognition of a prenuptial agreement in England and Wales was that of Katrin Radmacher, a German heiress, and her relatively poor French husband. An all-male judge sitting of The Supreme Court upheld the prenuptial agreement, in order to prevent Radmacher’s ex-husband benefitting substantially from her fortune.

The rest of this blog piece is an extract from the Ministry of Justice FoI response, concerning division of matrimonial assets following divorce, and possible alimony payments. When reading through it, consider which elements are designed to typically financially advantage ex-wives and financially disadvantage ex-husbands. This will help you understand why, decade after decade, most divorce applications have been filed by wives. In the past 10 years, as statistics in the letter shows, wives have applied for about two-thirds of them. The extract:

“I can let you know, again outside of the Act and on a discretionary basis, that the division of property on divorce and dissolution of a civil partnership in England in Wales is governed by the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 and the provisions of the Civil Partnership Act 2004. Section 24 of the 1973 Act enables the court, on granting a decree of divorce, nullity or judicial separation, or afterwards, to order that property be transferred from one party to the other, or to a child of the family, or to another person for the benefit of a child of the family. Probably the most frequent use of this power is by courts ordering a divorced man to transfer ownership of the matrimonial home to his ex-wife. Other provisions give the courts the power to order the making of periodical payments, to order the sale of property, to make orders in respect of pensions and so on. The court can order periodical payments for maintenance of a former spouse, and can order that the payments can be made for as long as the court considers appropriate.

The courts have discretion as to what orders they make in any particular case, in order to meet the demands of that case according to its particular circumstances. Section 25 of the Act lays down various matters which the courts are to consider in exercising their discretion. The first of these is the welfare of any child of the family under the age of 18. The other matters are:

• the income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each of the parties has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
• the contribution, both financial and other, made by each of the parties to looking after the home and children is also considered
• the financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each of the parties has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
• the standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage;
• the age of each party and the duration of the marriage;
• any physical or mental disability suffered by either party;
• the contributions which each party has made, or is likely to make in the future to the welfare of the family;
• the conduct of the parties, if it is such that it would be inequitable to disregard it;
• the value to each of the parties of any benefit which that party will lose the chance of acquiring because of the divorce or annulment.

I am not aware of any evidence that the courts exercise their discretion in divorce cases in a discriminatory way. In the nature of these cases, most of them will involve a net transfer of assets away from the richer of the two parties (usually the ex-husband) in favour of the poorer (usually the ex-wife). In the many cases where a couple’s only substantial asset is the former matrimonial home, it is likely, if there are children, that this will be given to the wife, as the primary carer for the children. Wives are therefore likely to obtain significantly more than half of the capital assets of a divorcing couple in a substantial proportion of cases.”

About Mike Buchanan

I'm a men's human rights advocate, writer, and publisher. My primary focus is leading the political party I launched in 2013, Justice for Men & Boys (and the women who love them). I still work actively on two campaigns I launched in early 2012, Campaign for Merit in Business and the Anti-Feminism League. In 2014 I launched The Alternative Sexism Project, aiming to raise public understanding that the sexism faced by men and boys has far more grievous consequences than the sexism faced by women and girls.
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  • this is an excellent point Mike, I might add in Australia there is legislation which forces the ex husband to pay additional fees collected by CSA (Child Support Agency) when the ex wife has new baby after divorce and is married to new man. My CSA payments had been increased because the mother of my 2 children has a new baby with new husband. I might add, one child lives with me 100% of time the other we share care (week on with me and week with the mother) the new child I had nothing to do with. I still pay her for the child she has on her alternative week. The explanation given by the agency as well as couple of MP’s is “her self support had been reduced due to her financial obligation for the new child” hence my financial obligation to support MY children had increased as hers had reduced. Go figure! I am now at the bring of forced collection from CSA…. which is taking more funds from me and my family to support her’s choices… very sad, I can’t believe it, its crazy! I am still financially obligated by laws to support the ex’s personal choices. 🙁

  • Like many men devastated by divorce and being financially wiped out, my thought was ‘fuck it. Why should I even bother to try to regain that income and lifestyle again’. Everything I worked for was spent on my family. It all went. My wife was sitting very pretty indeed. Any work I would do would not be of benefit to me. So I quit. I live a quiet life, no frills. Perfectly good enough. If anyone/thing has lost out it is society. A very productive and contributing man, for most of my adult life, I no longer care to contribute a jot.

  • @ Piotr – Am I interpreting your circumstances correctly? Is CSA forcing you to support a child directly that isn’t yours but is the product of your ex’s relationship with another man? Which is for all intents and purposes state-sponsored adultery and paternity fraud? That happens here in the US all the time. It’s so common as to be normal.

  • @ Chris – I’m in the same circumstances you are. I just dropped out of society. It’s their loss and not mine. There is no conscience operating in our culture anymore and I will not acquiesce to it, participate in it or help it. A culture like that will eventually collapse. I may go with it but at least I can say I had nothing to do with it. More and more men are refusing to contribute to society. Without that contribution, it well cease to exist. Look at the growing disparity of men and women matriculated at university in the US – 2:3. The number of unemployed men. The number of men who are not marrying or having children. Men created civilization and have sustained it and when they are no longer participating, that civilization will collapse.

  • It is interesting in the last paragraph. What is actually described is actually ” indirect discrimination” because, as is pointed out, the way the cases result follows an identifiable pattern that routinely results in a gendered pattern. So although each case is decided individually and not discriminatory the operation of courts is discriminatory. As described in the Equality Act guidance, this is a case of indirect discrimination by the courts. 
    Britain is the ” divorce capital of the world” because of the wide discretion given judges in settlements. In many European countries there are clearer limits, many only allow distribution of assets built up during the Marriage thereby protecting assets inherited or accrued prior. 
    In Britain many judges have commented that they don’t want such wide discretion. 

  • Darryl Jewett Yes, unfortunately, I though this happens in other countries too…. I know two guys who moved out from Brisbane to live in caravan parks, the CSA payments had been to high for them to live on. Very said indeed, both of them working in IT on good salary with wife which didn’t work or should I say choose and had opportunity provided by this fathers to stay home. No one had force woman to say home.