Prenuptial/Divorce Law Question

davidsonj73

Senior Don Juan
Joined
Sep 2, 2023
Messages
221
Reaction score
31
Which US states tend to be the most favorable for men in terms of divorce? If you are a lawyer or have been or know someone who has been divorced, what state are you or they in, and how did it turn out? I'm looking for whether any prenuptial agreements were honored, what percent of the man's net worth was lost, and how many, if any children the couple had.
 

Bible_Belt

Master Don Juan
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Messages
16,976
Reaction score
5,599
Age
48
Location
midwestern cow field 40
Generally speaking, blue state bad, red state better. California is probably the worst.

The qualities of a good prenup would be similar across all states, like each side gets independent legal advice, non working spouse gets alimony, and whatever you need to do to make a judge see the agreement as fair to both sides.
 

Dash Riprock

Master Don Juan
Joined
Sep 16, 2005
Messages
1,767
Reaction score
3,492
Location
Mile High City, USA
Generally speaking, blue state bad, red state better. California is probably the worst.

The qualities of a good prenup would be similar across all states, like each side gets independent legal advice, non working spouse gets alimony, and whatever you need to do to make a judge see the agreement as fair to both sides.
Agreed.

Any blue state is going to be much more favorable to the woman in the divorce. I was also told by a blue state family lawyer that a judge can use a pre nup as a guide, but it is not a legally binding document.
 

BeExcellent

Master Don Juan
Joined
Dec 16, 2015
Messages
4,666
Reaction score
6,566
Age
55
Lawyer is wrong.
Not really. Depends on the judge. Many judges legislate via creation of case law, from the bench. Case law is well known to erode statute. In blue states (or blue local jurisdictions) you get more activist judges who take a more liberal interpretive stance. Good lawyers KNOW this. The judge who arbitrates your case has a tremendous influence on how your case goes. That's why a good lawyer finds out who the judge is. Can make ALL the difference.
 

BaronOfHair

Master Don Juan
Joined
Feb 14, 2024
Messages
1,424
Reaction score
553
Age
35
Which US states tend to be the most favorable for men in terms of divorce? If you are a lawyer or have been or know someone who has been divorced, what state are you or they in, and how did it turn out? I'm looking for whether any prenuptial agreements were honored, what percent of the man's net worth was lost, and how many, if any children the couple had.
If we're talking shared custody in the event of divorce, the National Parents Organization has an exhaustive rating of all 50 states


Oddly enough, there's no correlation between a state's Blueness or Redness, and the state being amenable to joint custody. States like North Carolina and The Dakotas are awful on this front
 

RickTheToad

Moderator
Joined
Apr 21, 2018
Messages
6,492
Reaction score
5,029
Location
Bridgeport, CT
Not really. Depends on the judge. Many judges legislate via creation of case law, from the bench. Case law is well known to erode statute. In blue states (or blue local jurisdictions) you get more activist judges who take a more liberal interpretive stance. Good lawyers KNOW this. The judge who arbitrates your case has a tremendous influence on how your case goes. That's why a good lawyer finds out who the judge is. Can make ALL the difference.
Mine survived in New York. Yes, I did have a good, but expensive lawyer; James Sexton.
 

Free_Agent

Don Juan
Joined
Dec 28, 2022
Messages
54
Reaction score
37
Age
47
Not really. Depends on the judge. Many judges legislate via creation of case law, from the bench. Case law is well known to erode statute. In blue states (or blue local jurisdictions) you get more activist judges who take a more liberal interpretive stance. Good lawyers KNOW this. The judge who arbitrates your case has a tremendous influence on how your case goes. That's why a good lawyer finds out who the judge is. Can make ALL the difference.
This.

When I asked my attorney about prenups, he told me about one of his clients, high net worth, had a clause in the prenup for no alimony. He was a Doctor and the ex wife had a professional high paying career ( I don't recall what it was).

Judge struck it out, saying it was "unconscionable".

ETAL: My attorney was the top trial family law attorney in one of the wealthiest county in the USA.
 

RangerMIke

Master Don Juan
Joined
Nov 23, 2014
Messages
4,638
Reaction score
7,555
Location
USA, Louisiana
Depends on the state... others say 'Red' v. 'Blue' I'm not sure what that means since that has no legal standing in a family court. Red states like Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina are NOT community property states, and I know plenty of men that lived there get raked over the coals. California gets a bad rap for divorce, mostly because there are a lot of high-profile celebrity divorces that look really bad. But for the average man, divorce in California really isn't too bad since it is a community property state. Connecticut is really bad (Blue State) and Florida is really bad (Red State).

If you are in a community property state, then division of assets only applies to that which was attained during a marriage, so if you bring a lot into a marriage, you get to keep that... but be warned, anything you bring in needs to be kept separate. If you have an investment account while single, you will need to open a new investment account. Don't take your single investments and create and change them to joint... legally what you brought in is still yours, but now you have to prove in family court. DO NOT let your new partner talk you into selling a home you already own, and roll the equity into a new home you both jointly own. Because then that equity becomes a joint asset.

Pre-nups will get tossed out by family court judges if the pre-nup does not have clearly defined limits. You cannot just say "no-alimony" as an open-ended statement because the judge will rule it "unconscionable" as @Free_Agent stated. For a no-alimony clause in a pre-nup to be considered reasonable, there have to be specific limits and conditions attached... Something like no-alimony unless the marriage lasts for more than 10 years, or if the spouse continues to work. The agreement MUST have clearly defined conditions with time limits... then you have to make sure that your spouse was not under 'duress' or was competent when she signed. Having witnesses is important. I would recommend that if you need a pre-nup, hire a lawyer that specialized in family court, and if you move to a new state, insure the pre-nup is going to be enforceable in your new jurisdiction.... it's always a good idea to revisit the pre-nup periodically, because something signed 20 years ago in another state can and will be tossed out by judges.
 

Divorced w 3

Master Don Juan
Joined
Nov 20, 2022
Messages
2,338
Reaction score
1,279
You need to have the prenup dictate that the venue of the marriage is tried under the laws of a state that are friendly to what you are trying to do. You can get married in California and have your prenuptial agreement dictate that you arbitrate under the laws of Rhode Island for instance. A guy I know who makes around 3mm annually pays almost nothing in support to his former stay at home wife slash yoga instructor bc she got equitable distribution but Rhode Island imputed what her earning potential was so he gives her basically nothing besides education for their son. Next on his list of magic tricks is getting his son student aid by zeroing out his income legally. It’s absolutely outrageous what you can do what you plan properly.
 

RickTheToad

Moderator
Joined
Apr 21, 2018
Messages
6,492
Reaction score
5,029
Location
Bridgeport, CT
This.

When I asked my attorney about prenups, he told me about one of his clients, high net worth, had a clause in the prenup for no alimony. He was a Doctor and the ex wife had a professional high paying career ( I don't recall what it was).

Judge struck it out, saying it was "unconscionable".

ETAL: My attorney was the top trial family law attorney in one of the wealthiest county in the USA.
I find this hard to believe. I went through my divorce filing and subsequent annulment, and both my prenup and trust were reviewed by the court. There was a fight, and the legal process lasted almost as long as my marriage, but every request from her legal counsel was denied by the court except that I had to keep paying her medical insurance until the legal process was completed and this was in New York City. Unless he was in California, I cannot see a more liberal city than NYC. With that said, my prenup did offer 1 million in life insurance if the marriage lasted after 5 years; it lasted about 2 years until I convinced her to move out of my house and filed for divorce.

I cannot recommend getting married to anyone these days. Religious marriage, yes, legal, no. It cost me over 40k in legal fees 15 years ago. I am sure it would be double that now.
 

RickTheToad

Moderator
Joined
Apr 21, 2018
Messages
6,492
Reaction score
5,029
Location
Bridgeport, CT
Depends on the state... others say 'Red' v. 'Blue' I'm not sure what that means since that has no legal standing in a family court. Red states like Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina are NOT community property states, and I know plenty of men that lived there get raked over the coals. California gets a bad rap for divorce, mostly because there are a lot of high-profile celebrity divorces that look really bad. But for the average man, divorce in California really isn't too bad since it is a community property state. Connecticut is really bad (Blue State) and Florida is really bad (Red State).

If you are in a community property state, then division of assets only applies to that which was attained during a marriage, so if you bring a lot into a marriage, you get to keep that... but be warned, anything you bring in needs to be kept separate. If you have an investment account while single, you will need to open a new investment account. Don't take your single investments and create and change them to joint... legally what you brought in is still yours, but now you have to prove in family court. DO NOT let your new partner talk you into selling a home you already own, and roll the equity into a new home you both jointly own. Because then that equity becomes a joint asset.

Pre-nups will get tossed out by family court judges if the pre-nup does not have clearly defined limits. You cannot just say "no-alimony" as an open-ended statement because the judge will rule it "unconscionable" as @Free_Agent stated. For a no-alimony clause in a pre-nup to be considered reasonable, there have to be specific limits and conditions attached... Something like no-alimony unless the marriage lasts for more than 10 years, or if the spouse continues to work. The agreement MUST have clearly defined conditions with time limits... then you have to make sure that your spouse was not under 'duress' or was competent when she signed. Having witnesses is important. I would recommend that if you need a pre-nup, hire a lawyer that specialized in family court, and if you move to a new state, insure the pre-nup is going to be enforceable in your new jurisdiction.... it's always a good idea to revisit the pre-nup periodically, because something signed 20 years ago in another state can and will be tossed out by judges.
A waiver of alimony is standard in a pre-nup these days. At least it is in New York. I know plenty of wealthy people, male and female, which have a waiver of alimony. Yes, one has to give something up to obtain it, so that is why a life insurance policy is a good bargaining chip. However, I stand by my original statement, you have to be nuts to get married these days. N-U-T-S.
 

RickTheToad

Moderator
Joined
Apr 21, 2018
Messages
6,492
Reaction score
5,029
Location
Bridgeport, CT
You need to have the prenup dictate that the venue of the marriage is tried under the laws of a state that are friendly to what you are trying to do. You can get married in California and have your prenuptial agreement dictate that you arbitrate under the laws of Rhode Island for instance. A guy I know who makes around 3mm annually pays almost nothing in support to his former stay at home wife slash yoga instructor bc she got equitable distribution but Rhode Island imputed what her earning potential was so he gives her basically nothing besides education for their son. Next on his list of magic tricks is getting his son student aid by zeroing out his income legally. It’s absolutely outrageous what you can do what you plan properly.
That wouldn't work in most states. It depends on where the divorce is filed. You can be married or have the prenup written in Alabama, but if you file in New York or New Jersey, you are subject to that state's divorce rules and statutes.
 

RangerMIke

Master Don Juan
Joined
Nov 23, 2014
Messages
4,638
Reaction score
7,555
Location
USA, Louisiana
A waiver of alimony is standard in a pre-nup these days. At least it is in New York. I know plenty of wealthy people, male and female, which have a waiver of alimony. Yes, one has to give something up to obtain it, so that is why a life insurance policy is a good bargaining chip. However, I stand by my original statement, you have to be nuts to get married these days. N-U-T-S.
I agree. For a pre-nup to be enforceable, even in community property states, there MUST be reciprocity and conditions attached to the agreement.

I also agree that if you are a person of means, marrying someone bringing nothing to the table accept their bodies... you are a fool to marry. But I've seen men do this several times in their lives... I can understand a man that gets burned once, when they are younger with little life experience... but for the life of me I do not understand middle age and older men jumping back into that wild dog pit.
 

davidsonj73

Senior Don Juan
Joined
Sep 2, 2023
Messages
221
Reaction score
31
I find this hard to believe. I went through my divorce filing and subsequent annulment, and both my prenup and trust were reviewed by the court. There was a fight, and the legal process lasted almost as long as my marriage, but every request from her legal counsel was denied by the court except that I had to keep paying her medical insurance until the legal process was completed and this was in New York City. Unless he was in California, I cannot see a more liberal city than NYC. With that said, my prenup did offer 1 million in life insurance if the marriage lasted after 5 years; it lasted about 2 years until I convinced her to move out of my house and filed for divorce.

I cannot recommend getting married to anyone these days. Religious marriage, yes, legal, no. It cost me over 40k in legal fees 15 years ago. I am sure it would be double that now.
@RickCan a couple get married religiously, but not legally?
 

Free_Agent

Don Juan
Joined
Dec 28, 2022
Messages
54
Reaction score
37
Age
47
I find this hard to believe. I went through my divorce filing and subsequent annulment, and both my prenup and trust were reviewed by the court. There was a fight, and the legal process lasted almost as long as my marriage, but every request from her legal counsel was denied by the court except that I had to keep paying her medical insurance until the legal process was completed and this was in New York City. Unless he was in California, I cannot see a more liberal city than NYC. With that said, my prenup did offer 1 million in life insurance if the marriage lasted after 5 years; it lasted about 2 years until I convinced her to move out of my house and filed for divorce.

I cannot recommend getting married to anyone these days. Religious marriage, yes, legal, no. It cost me over 40k in legal fees 15 years ago. I am sure it would be double that now.
2 years is nothing. Try that after 10+ years

The longer the marriage, the less the prenups effectiveness is.

My ex was an attorney herself. Our marriage was 14 years. She got a $650K house plus I had to write her a check for nearly 7 figures.

My attorney's bill was $140k. If we went to trial he said it would be at least $100K more.

Crazy thing is I was dating this younger Venezuelan women and before it all went down in a ball of flames I actually started thinking maybe she was something.
 

RickTheToad

Moderator
Joined
Apr 21, 2018
Messages
6,492
Reaction score
5,029
Location
Bridgeport, CT
2 years is nothing. Try that after 10+ years

The longer the marriage, the less the prenups effectiveness is.

My ex was an attorney herself. Our marriage was 14 years. She got a $650K house plus I had to write her a check for nearly 7 figures.

My attorney's bill was $140k. If we went to trial he said it would be at least $100K more.

Crazy thing is I was dating this younger Venezuelan women and before it all went down in a ball of flames I actually started thinking maybe she was something.
I would agree to that on some points. This is why you are supposed to revisit and update the pre-nup every 5 years to ensure it's relevant. I believe some states still have lifetime alimony on the books.. New Jersey comes to mind....
 

RickTheToad

Moderator
Joined
Apr 21, 2018
Messages
6,492
Reaction score
5,029
Location
Bridgeport, CT
@RickCan a couple get married religiously, but not legally?
Simple. Have a religious marriage only. If you are Catholic/Christian/etc, just have the ceremony, and do not hand in the marriage cert. to the padre/priest. If you're Jewish, do the same with the Rabbi. If you belong to another religion, then whoever is head of your local religious place (church, mosque, temple, etc.). Both can also just up for a domestic partnership which is pretty easy to do and is $25 bucks or so.

You can compare marriage vs. domestic partnerships here. Much safer.

 

SW15

Master Don Juan
Joined
May 31, 2020
Messages
12,608
Reaction score
10,713
My ex was an attorney herself. Our marriage was 14 years. She got a $650K house plus I had to write her a check for nearly 7 figures.
Was she in family law?

No matter what type of law she was practicing, it seems like it would be unpleasant to be in a long term relationship and/or married to a female lawyer. That's the Girl Boss type.
 

Free_Agent

Don Juan
Joined
Dec 28, 2022
Messages
54
Reaction score
37
Age
47
Was she in family law?

No matter what type of law she was practicing, it seems like it would be unpleasant to be in a long term relationship and/or married to a female lawyer. That's the Girl Boss type.
Was she in family law?

No matter what type of law she was practicing, it seems like it would be unpleasant to be in a long term relationship and/or married to a female lawyer. That's the Girl Boss type.
She started in RE. Top firm offered partnership.

Then got into estate planning . Wills. Trusts. Etc. Never litigation.

Then … politics .
 
Top