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In Divorce Court - I Have to Trust the Hair on My Arms

Attorney Marilyn York says love may not be forever, but divorce’s impact can be.

“Everyone is assumed to be lying,” says Marilyn York, the outspoken men’s rights divorce and family lawyer. “It’s hard to tell what’s true and what’s not, who’s falsely accused or not, and it’s usually the men who get sabotaged and don’t see it coming.”


Because men are often so ill-prepared emotionally and financially for divorce, York focuses on helping men through the process.

“The challenge I see over and over is that men are inherently wired and socialized to be caretakers and providers. In my custody and divorce cases, men say, ‘that's the mother of my child. I don't want to take my child away from her’ – and that’s even if they are fighting tooth and nail as parents.”

Contrarily, she finds that women often do not put children first.


“Women get vindictive. If they get cheated on, then they want to punish the man, and they punish them by taking away their kids. But nobody thinks about these children when they're not children anymore. These are not functioning adults – and who's gonna pay for them? They don't produce, they don't perform, they don't contribute. They aren't mentally well.

Watch Marilyn York at METAL

The stay-at-home housewife that's pissed off has no money. She’s spent all of her alimony and saved nothing. Is she gonna pay for him? This is a compounding mental health disaster. I watch them age out and these kids are wrecks, and it's awful. And all they had to do was just have access to both parents.”

It’s a given that nobody’s perfect, she argues, but children need both parents.  


“There are just so many benefits that fathers give kids that mothers don't. Studies show it’s the combination that makes the most successful kid. Visitation honestly doesn't do shit. You have to have joint physical custody, and that means 50-50 time with your kids to have an actual impact in their life. Women need to recognize that, and that means putting their children first and their anger aside.”


She understands that there is a cultural bias that favors women. “It’s sort of payback time after men having had all the rights for so long. And you want to trust women, to help support women coming forward and reporting abuse, which has been such a problem. But the truth is that women will come in with ‘silver bullet’ strategies – false accusations. Three year olds will describe sexual acts in detail that never happened. It’s so easy to feed them information. They want to please. I have seen horrible things happen to men. Until you have witnessed this close up, you have no appreciation for the consequences of false allegations on men and their children.”

The larger tragedy, she points out, is that the repercussions of abandonment are multigenerational. One solution, she says, is that the criminal sector needs to prosecute lying by women. “We need to criminalize paternity fraud.”


She counsels hard truths for men, because “men are happier in marriage and it’s the women who start planning early for divorce and you have to catch up... 90% of divorces are initiated by women and there’s a reason it’s often not pretty. We are physically inferior, even if we're trying to pretend we're not. So, of course we go for the ball shot.”


How can men prepare to avoid legal, financial, and familial “ball shots”?

First, “stop pretending marriage is forever because it can cost you. That’s just not the world we live in. Give your best years to your employer or your business. Not to your partner.”

Second, know that in separations, accusations uptick, especially with pregnant women and women with children, so prepare yourself emotionally because it’s going to be more confrontational that you expect (see #4 below).


Third, have an airtight prenup. That means including the clause that says “If you contest this prenup, you get only $1.” This way, says York, you still have the choice of being more generous at divorce, but it will be your choice, not the court’s.


Fourth, if you sense that your marriage is beginning to go south, start recording everything now. “Cover your butt. Record your life in your home. Take pictures of the trash, all the meds, the state of the house if it works in your favor, if your partner is staying in bed till noon or drinking or otherwise misbehaving. If you are a father, record her saying things like ‘you're a good father’ and ‘I want you in my child’s life.’ If they are the type to threaten to lie in order to destroy you in court, record them saying ‘I’m going to tell the court you are a pervert, or that you hit me.’”

Fifth, “watch your bank account. I’ve seen too many cases of women draining accounts in preparation for divorce. Transfer it out. Early.”

York knows it's hard to gird for battle when so much love and attachment is breaking.  “But you have to know the enemy.”


There’s a larger enemy, though, she says. “We are not connected. We need to work on relationships in general. We are in a war at home – sitting on our electronics, healing our gut biomes while jerking off to porn in separate rooms. We all like instant gratification. Our kids are social media-raped and don’t know how to converse with each other.”

We are no longer a society built for connection, she says, “nor for empathy or camaraderie. Half the people listening to me right now are in a shitty marriage. No one’s teaching the importance of connection in general. If there’s going to be any change, it has to start there.”

Today's email was brought to you by Adam Gilad.

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