No matter who you are, you’ll likely be on the wrong side of a double standard at some point in your life. Though society is moving in a direction where double standards are becoming increasingly frowned upon, we haven’t been able to eliminate them entirely overnight. Even in 2022, many men feel as though divorce always favors the woman. On the other hand, it isn’t uncommon for women to feel as though they’ve lost everything during their divorce. Despite this, many men still feel as though divorce always favors the woman…but is that really true?
A man paying his ex-wife alimony is seen more commonly than the reverse. But, that doesn’t necessarily have to do with the genders. In Utah, there’s no one size fits all calculator for alimony. However, it’s typically based on your income, your spouse’s income, and the standard of living during the marriage. In the past, men have been ordered to pay alimony more frequently than women have since men were typically the breadwinners while women stayed at home with the children. Although men still tend to have higher incomes, women are being ordered to pay alimony when the situation calls for it. So, while it is more common for men to pay alimony, a court should not deny or grant your request for alimony simply because of your gender.
Child support is much more straightforward than alimony; there’s even a calculator for it online. Though you are less likely to pay child support if you have 50/50 custody, it can still happen if there’s a substantial difference between your income and your ex’s income. This is because the legislature wants children to maintain a standard of living similar to what they had while their parents were married at both residences. For the vast majority of cases, child support is based solely on the incomes of the parents and the amount of overnights each parent has with the children on an annual basis. Only in extenuating circumstances is an increase or reduction in child support up to the discretion of the court. Courts do not factor in a person’s gender when determining whether or not child support will be awarded.
Courts have historically favored the primary caregiver when establishing custody and parent time arrangements. In most cases, the mother has historically been the primary caregiver. Though women tend to have an advantage in custody battles due to being assumed the primary caregiver based upon traditional gender roles, Utah legislature has enacted statutes to promote fairness in custody orders. These statutes ask the court to consider evidence from both parents when it comes to establishing a primary caregiver. If you are the father, and you are either the primary caregiver, or have an equal role in caring for the children, you should be prepared to gather a lot of evidence to support this. Although mothers may have a slight advantage in a custody battle, fathers do not have to worry about being unable to have any custody of their children. If you want to be involved in your child’s life, and you are not an abusive, or otherwise an unfit parent, you will likely be able to have some custody of your children, regardless of your gender. Fathers who are able to establish an active role in caring for and being involved in their children’s lives have a good chance of having equal amounts of parent-time, if not more.
Getting justice for your spouse’s betrayal is likely satisfying and may provide closure. Unfortunately for those hurt by infidelity, family law courts are generally not inclined to provide you with that kind of justice, regardless of your gender. Though at-fault divorces and alienation of affection suits are possible in Utah, they are uncommonly won. This has nothing to do with gender and more to do with other factors including the significant costs of litigating those issues. Since a lot of people take significant losses as a result of a divorce, it’s not uncommon for people to feel a sense of unfairness when infidelity is involved. However, the court’s unwillingness to factor cheating into the division of assets, custody arrangements, and child support has nothing to do with gender.
Division of Debt and Assets
In Utah, divorces are supposed to be fair and equitable. This is presumed to be an equal division of the marital estate. Depending on the circumstances, it is possible for a judge to award your ex with assets that you obtained prior to the marriage. Or, you may be forced to sell assets that you obtained prior to the marriage in order to give your spouse half of the value. You may need to sell these assets just in order to pay for the divorce itself. A judge could also rule that, in the interest of being equitable, a party is allowed to keep certain assets such as a car, or a house, because it would take them too long to build up the financial resources necessary to purchase another car or house. This may feel unfair, especially if you were blindsided by the divorce, or if you didn’t want the divorce in the first place. These situations could also be reversed. The court has significant amounts of discretion in determining what is part of the marital estate and how it should be divided. However, the division of assets does not factor in gender when determining what is fair and equitable.
Judges are supposed to be fair and unbiased. But judges are also human beings, and it is impossible to completely remove bias and life experience from a person. Judges often try their best to leave their beliefs outside of the courtroom in order to ensure a fair result. However, it is impossible to completely eradicate a bias from another person. Furthermore, parties on both sides frequently feel as though the judge wasn’t fair or biased. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising if both parties felt as though their ex got the better side of the deal.
Protecting Your Rights
While it isn’t true that divorce always favors the woman, having an experienced attorney who can advocate for your best interests can help ensure that your divorce is fair and equitable while mitigating your losses. At CoilLaw, our attorneys work with you to protect your rights during a divorce. If you’re ready to get the divorce process started, contact CoilLaw today.