Divorce & Marital Agreements – Ryan Kalamaya – MensGroup Podcast

In this episode, Ryan Kalamaya and Sean Galla from MensGroup get into how to deal with a divorce from an emotional and a legal side. We also get into when to reach out to a divorce attorney and the differences between a pre-marital and a marital agreement.

Today’s https://mensgroup.com/podcast guest Ryan Kalamaya is a divorce lawyer and co-host of Divorce at Altitude: A Podcast on Colorado Family Law, and he’s here to talk about divorce, prenup, and marital agreements.

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Hosted by

Sean Galla

An experienced facilitator, community builder and Peer Support Specialist, Sean has been running men's groups for 10+ years. Read Sean's Full Author Bio.


00:01:53 CHAPTER I – The Emotional Side of Divorce

00:02:06 Avoiding Divorce 

  • Whilst there’s no recipe that can guarantee you’ll not be going through such a tough thing as a divorce, there are some valuable things that you can put into practice that will definitely enrich your loving relationship and minimize the odds of navigating through a difficult break-up.
  • Some of these, which are pretty simple by the way, are:
  • 1) Make time to connect with your spouse. This involves putting away your phone, turning down your computer, and carving some quality time off to truly bond;
  • 2) Complimenting, on a daily basis and even for simple things such as making dinner, can certainly go a long way. Don’t take your spouse for granted!
  • 3) Mind your appearance – Men have a tendency to let themselves go, especially in their middle age. This can indeed have an impact on your loving relationship; 4) Last but not least – remaining faithful. This can sound quite obvious, but stats show that around 60% of guys are or have been unfaithful, so it’s definitely something to keep in mind. 

00:05:07 Coping With Divorce

  • Taking up physical challenges can be a very helpful tool when facing a difficult divorce. 
  • Drowning yourself in booze and hookers may be tempting given that it implies instant gratification, but will certainly keep you away from emotional recovery and getting past these hard times in a healthy way. 
  • Every guy is a different case, so you should find something that really works for you and that you truly resonate with – going on a meditation retreat, alternative cooking, learning a new skill, etc. Now’s the time!  

00:07:33 Bitterness

  • Many guys that go through a divorce experience usually share a deep feeling of bitterness. The fact is that divorce is a complex process that involves several stages, being grief one of them. So actually, being bitter at this point is not an issue itself but a normal feeling to experience. However, getting stuck in that bitterness, wallowing in it, and not being able to move on is certainly a problem. Men caught in this negative loop are strongly advised to reach out for professional help  
  • When being in this emotional state, it’s easier for men to put all the blame on their spouses and fall into the usual trap of thinking that “all women are this or that”. In fact, it takes two to tango and in most cases, there’s a shared responsibility for thinks taking the course they do. So, taking ownership of your side of the mess and moving on is the wiser (but maybe also the harder) way to go. 

00:13:29 Common Mistakes Around Divorce 

  • Some common mistakes that guys make when facing a divorce are financial-related. One can be draining their bank account and trying to empower themselves by controlling their wives from a financial side. On the flip side, some other men will throw away a ton of money with the hope that all the emotional issues that are affecting their marriage will just vanish. No need to say that buying out your wife is not exactly a model of a sustainable relationship. 
  • If there are kids involved, telling them more than they need to know is certainly a bad way to go. Don’t put your marriage issues on them if you don’t want your divorce to impact hard on your relationship with them.  
  • Most of the time men are caught off ward when their wives ask them to get divorced, not having listened to their wives when they suggested attending couple therapy or trying any other thing that would have improved their relationship. At this point, men are usually more than open to that, but it’s just too late.  

00:18:16 When to Seek a Divorce Attorney 

  • Whilst this may vary from case to case, there’s actually no downside to reaching out to a professional counselor that can help you figure out where are you standing from a legal point of view. It’s also worth adding that this is better to be done sooner than later, given that divorces can be tough to process from both a legal and an emotional perspective.  
  • Divorce doesn’t necessarily mean fighting. Even though there will always be some sort of conflict that triggers the break-up, some couples manage to achieve a friendly divorce, mostly by acknowledging their side of the responsibility, understanding that’s better to part ways, and keeping a long-term view when it comes to the future ahead – even though the immediate time after getting divorced will most likely be challenging, both parts usually end up being on a better place than they were during their conflictive marriage.  

00:24:58 Child Custody

  • When fighting over custody of your kids, it’s crucial that you’re present. Failing to show up or coming drunk to legal disputes will surely lean the scale towards the opposite side. 
  • Some men actually get better at being a dad after they get divorced – given that they get to share time with their kids just 50% of what they used to do, they tend to really dive into their time together, in contrast with when they used to be around their kids 100% of the time in a toxic environment.  

00:26:56 CHAPTER II – The Legal Side of Divorce

00:29:22 Prenup and Marital Agreements

  • A prenup is essentially a written agreement in which you and your spouse agree ahead of time on specific things such as property division, the amount of spousal support in potential attorney’s fees, etc. However, kid-related issues including child support and custody are not a part of these legal contracts. 
  • In opposition to a prenup, a marital agreement is a legal contract that can be signed during the marriage, usually with the idea of addressing an issue that may be a current source of conflict for the spouses and aiming to set what may happen with that particular issue in the event of a potential divorce. 
  • It’s worth pointing out that, even though these two contracts are legally recognized all throughout the United States, the laws of enforceability of both legal documents vary to a greater to a lesser degree from one State to another.

00:35:30 Attacking a Pre-Marital Agreement

  • Occasionally when going through a divorce, one of the spouses will file a dispute against the pre-marital agreement, mostly due to the fact that, from their point of view, the terms agreed on that legal contract may leave them at the weaker side of the equation when facing a potential break-up. Most of the time, this action is taken by the downward spouse, who will be more financially affected by the separation. 
  • Even though a prenup is a legal document signed by the two members of the marriage concerning terms they’ve both agreed on, a judge has the legal competency of changing some of those terms if he or she understands that by not doing so, the attacking part would be left in quite an unfair place in the event of a divorce. 

00:46:17 History of Prenup Agreements

  • Even though prenup may appear to be a pretty modern concept, the first pre-marital agreements documented are from Ancient Egypt around 3,000 years ago! 
  • The foundations for the modern prenup were set in Western Europe, and would only apply in case of death of one of the spouses, but would not be enforceable for divorce. Its main aim was to ensure the well-being of children’s inheritance. 
  • Current stats show that millennials are more open to prenup than older generations were. This is mainly because they see this legal agreement as a way to prevent potential conflicts in the event of a potential break-up. Also, younger generations tend to get married later in life, so they usually have more patrimony to protect.