I have come across so many American men, both on this site and elsewhere, say that they are against marriage because they wouldn't want their wife to take away their house, car, half their assets and their kids' custody, if there is a divorce. Is it really that bad over there? I'm unaware of American divorce laws.
I have also noticed that most American women are against pre-nup. If the divorce laws are indeed as draconic as people say, how is it 'wrong' for an American man to insist on a pre-nup?
Most Helpful Girl
They're lying and/or exaggerating.
Assets tend to be split 50/50 because marriage is viewed as a partnership in which both people are contributing equally. While one person may contribute more financially, that doesn't mean that the other person's contributions aren't important too (for example, contributions within the home benefit and support the breadwinner).
Sometimes one person will have to pay alimony to the other, typically if they make significantly more. This is to help the spouse that makes less money or does is unemployed to get back on their feet. This is particularly important if one spouse was a stay-at-home spouse/parent, since they gave up job experience/earnings to benefit both people, so they will be in a much worse off position in the case of divorce.
In terms of child custody, the vast majority of child custody arrangements are decided outside of the courts. Within the courts, children are more likely to be placed with the parent who spent the most time taking care of them (in other words, the primary caregiver).
Laws are typically gender neutral. The reason why men are more likely to be the ones paying alimony is because men are more likely to make more money than their wives. The reason why women are more likely to get great custody (besides the fact that the husbands typically agree to this) is because women are more likely to have been the primary caregiver for the children.
Women who are against pre-nups typically are against them because a) it's a suggestion that you think your marriage will end in divorce before you've even gotten married... that can feel like your spouse isn't taking their vows of "til death do us part" seriously, and b) it feels like your spouse thinks that you're a golddigger who will try to take all of your stuff in divorce, so it feels insulting.3
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Most Helpful Guy
Divorce laws vary by state. Some states have onerous alimony laws.
Historically (think 19th century), when divorce occured, the children and property remained with the father. This was because he was often the sole breadwinner. A divorced mother would retain her personal possessions, but have neither property nor obligation as she left her household. She became a free agent.
In the early part of the 20th century, a peice of legislation was passed called the "tender years laws". The central idea in these laws was that it was harmful to young children to be removed from their mother. The result was that in case of divorce, the husband would leave the household while retaining the obligation to support the family he was no longer a part of. Alimony for maintaining the ex wife and child support for sustaining the children.
Fast forward to the 1970s. This is when the adoption of no-fault divorce began. When divorce can happen on the say so of one person (the aggrieved spouse), the avalanche of divorce began.
At the same time in the 1970s, wage growth began to slow for the first time. As a result, the vast majority of households require two incomes to sustain them at the same standard that was possible on one income decades earlier.
Consequently, even though both the man and woman each have incomes, the non custodial parent still has financial obligations (child support). The "tender years laws" no longer are in effect, but they shaped public perceptions and the sensibilities of family court judges. Thus, in the majority of cases, custody of children was assumed to be automatically granted to the woman.
Currently, even this assumption has been going away as men seek their rights to be involved in their children's lives and as the judiciary changes with new judges replacing those that step down from the bench.
The advocates for child welfare have advanced a different view of child custody arrangements. Previously, the interests of the father or mother were emphasized, now the primary concern is achieving the best outcome for the children.
To this end, custody has two parts:
Legal custody - the right to be involved in children's lives
Physical custody - the right to have children assigned to your household
Legal custody is usally joint. Physical custody is most often assigned to the parent that has been the primary caretaker for the children so as to minimize their disruption. (In practice, this still means women usally get physical custody.)
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