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​Can you afford to get married and - more importantly - divorced?

Recently, I have been hearing a lot about 'Men Going Their Own Way' (MGTOW) and the reasons for this. An American forensic psychologist, Dr Helen Smith wrote a book called "Men going on Strike". Have a look on youtube for interviews with Dr Helen Smith, they are worth listening to. The issues in Australia are no different from the USA, and I thought it was time to briefly outline these.

If entering a relationship and having children was a business deal, I would strongly recommend against it. The risks far outweigh the potential rewards and failure-rates are high. However, life is not that simple and most hope to find that special person and perhaps have a family, or should I say most people did.
It now appears that men - especially in the USA - are removing themselves from marriage, relationships and having children, and who can blame them? The risks are great, and the "system" is stacked against you if you are a male… And it is not just in Family Law.

Why are men turning their back on marriage and children? If you have been through a nasty divorce or you know someone who has, you will smile and probably say: "Well, there is very little in it for them and lots of dangers." So, what exactly are the dangers men face?

There are many dangers for men, but perhaps the worst one and the one that greatly contributes towards the other dangers is the anti-male sentiment that can be found in most of the mainstream media and from extreme feminist groups. This is not just the case in Australia but in nearly all Anglo-Saxon societies. This, in turn, gets picked up by the main political parties and turned into policies that are anti-male or to use a better word, misogynist. Men are seen as rapists, wife-beaters, deadbeat dads and any other bad thing that you can think of - when was the last time you heard something positive about being male?

So, what are the other dangers?

Criminal Law
An Apprehended Violence Order (Apprehended Domestic Violence Order or ADVO) is a powerful weapon, especially in a family law matter. A common situation is that allegations are made against the father (let's be honest here) and the police will represent the mother in court, while you, as the father, will have to represent yourself or pay for a lawyer. It is important to remember that an ADVO made against you is not a criminal charge or conviction in itself. However, breaching an ADVO is a criminal offence.

AVOs can be used to make it difficult for the father to have contact with the children, have the father incur legal costs and also keep them on the back foot.

Having an ADVO can cause you problems with your current and future employment. If you have a firearm licence and your job depends on you having one, you could lose your job. This is because you face the possibility of having a 10-year ban on possessing a firearm licence. So, if you are a security guard, a police officer or a farmer, you could be in trouble should your ex-partner decide to take out an ADVO against you.

Sexual Assault (especially allegations of historic sexual assault)
Sometimes false allegations of sexual assault are made, and they can be devastating - you could lose everything. Just remember the very recent "MeToo" movement and you will realise the potential dangers.

Family Law
If you are a father with 2 children be prepared to lose up to 70-75% of the assets. Obviously, you could pay a lot less but that depends on the circumstances. The point is that you need to be prepared to lose over 50% of the assets at the very least.

An unspoken truth in family law is that the father does not ‘gain’ time with his children, but the mother ‘loses’ time with her children. If the mother does not want 50/50 care, it is unlikely to happen. If the mother breaks court orders for contact, you will be forced to file a contravention, not only so that you can see your children again, but also because if you do not, after a short period of time, your child support payments will go up to reflect the fact that you do not see your children. As you can see, the system currently financially rewards the mother for breaking court orders.

Child Support
Child support is calculated on your gross (pre-tax) income. Yes, that is correct, it is based on you earing $75,000 rather than the $57,500 that you will actually receive after tax. The next thing you will very quickly learn is that the amount that you will pay as a father will very much depend on how much time the mother allows you to see the children.

Another unpleasant surprise is what is called a "Change of Assessment under reason 8". This is where your financial resources, income and property are not being reflected in the assessment or earning capacity is greater than what is reflected in the assessment. So, think carefully before you change jobs to have more time with your children - you could end up paying the same amount of child support on a smaller salary. In case you are wondering, "capacity to earn" will very rarely apply to the mother.

I often hear that payers of child support will stop working overtime and even refuse promotions, as the motivation is no longer there, and it is not difficult to understand why.

This is just a brief outline of what the consequences of a separation/divorce can mean for fathers.

So before taking the plunge ask yourself - can you actually afford to get married and - more importantly - divorced?

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