father son before divorce
Me and my son the summer before the divorce.

How Divorce Is Killing Men and Marriage In General

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Why would I marry a woman?

  1. to have a lifelong companion in sickness and in health
  2. to have kids together
  3. to combine our earning power to build a greater empire

Why marriage today carries more risk.

  1. if we have kids and divorce she will take me for everything I’ve earned
  2. the state will offer her the custodial role and 70% of the time with our kids
  3. I will struggle to try to be relevant in my kids’ lives when I see them every other weekend.
  4. women hold the battle axe in divorce if we disagree

So, what’s going on here? Why do women have the upper hand in cases of divorce? Is it because they are better parents? Is it because they deserve the time with the kids since they do most of the parenting work? Because kids need their moms.

What’s the incentive for men?

  1. I’ll give up half of everything I own
  2. I’ll lose the majority of my kids’ time
  3. Child support is enforced no matter my employment status

How Can We Change Marriage and Parenting Agreements?

Saying “‘Till death do us part,” is not a great insurance policy for what actually happens in over 50% of marriages. Most of them will end in divorce. So the vows are a bit misleading. That’s why I wrote the Pre-Natal Agreement. Let’s agree, BEFORE WE HAVE KIDS, that we will parent 50/50 forever, regardless of our marital status.

That was my hope when I agreed to negotiate my divorce with the mother of my children. We started very collaboratively. We dug into all the finances together. We hired an expensive family therapist to outline our parenting plan and strategize about how we actually told the kids. We went into the divorce process with hope and cooperation.

Until the schedule discussion came up.

I asked for a 50/50 shared schedule. My wife said no. Our divorce therapist said, “She will win if you go to court, you should settle this now.” I gave in to this logic and agreed not to sue my wife as she asked for the normal “divorce package.”

She wanted the divorce. I did not. She wanted the majority of the time with the kids. (Sure, two weekends off a month, sounds like a vacation.) She wanted the house. She wanted child support and health care for the kids paid for. And I was told, if I wanted to sue to fight her on these “standard” practices, I would lose. After spending $20,000 to 100,000, I would lose.

Why Does the State Load Dads with Child Support?

Here’s the dirty little secrete about family courts and the government’s role in keeping child support enforced and unequal. For every dollar my state collects in child support, the government reimburses the state for more child support enforcement officers and more power. The state is incentivized to award high child support payments because that’s the majority of the state’s attorney general budget. CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT.

So, the real truth is, the state wants to give moms the custodial role and a hefty child support payment. Dads are told to accept the SPO (standard possession order) that is “almost equal,” when nothing could be further from the truth. The SPO results in dads getting their kids 1/3 of the time. But if you look at the total number, moms are getting their kids two times more than fathers. Why? The state makes money on imbalanced parenting schedules that award larger child support payments.

What Can I Do?

First, if you’re thinking of having kids, at least read The Pre-Natal Agreement. I believe the same agreements that we go into parenting with should guide us if we happen to get derailed into a divorce. With kids, divorce will change everyone’s lives in profound ways. Make sure you understand that dads are just as important as moms at all stages of parenting, including after a divorce.

What my ex-wife failed to see: her last-minute decision to renege on our 50/50 parenting agreement was only about HER. The science doesn’t support the “moms are more important” premise. Our kids were 5 and 7, so the “babies need their moms” argument did not apply. Nope, she made the decision to contradict our two months of work in a collaborative divorce to get what she wanted: the house, the kids, and the money.

The news says men are not interested in getting married anymore. Can you understand why? Want a kid, sure let’s have a kid. Marriage? Why?


John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
Facebook  | Instagram | Pinterest |  @wholeparent

Note: I dated a non-custodial mom once. She paid her ex-husband $15 per month in child support. That’s as collaborative as you’re going to get.

Please Read: The Pre-Natal Agreement

How I Can Help

I am a relationship coach and a dating coach. I coach women in 1 x 1 zoom or facetime calls. I work in monthly blocks (4 sessions). We establish a relationship. I become your wingman in navigating and sorting through the bullshit of dating and relationships. If you are here, you’ve probably already read some of my opinions. If we’re a fit, we will both know on our first call.

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