Divorce, whether you are a man or woman is a messy process. Throw in anger, hurt feelings and lawyers chomping at the bit for a fight, and it makes sense that mistakes will be made. And, let’s face it, some men do not do well when the rug has been pulled out from under their lives due to an unwanted divorce. In fact, there are many mistakes men make during divorce that are very common, and they can all be avoided.
Since over 70% of divorces are filed by women, men are normally the ones thrown into a situation they didn’t want to be in, in the first place. And, one they are ill prepared to deal with. This puts men at a disadvantage both legally and emotionally and, I don’t know why but when some men are at a disadvantage, their ability to think logically and make good choices flies out the window.
Then, it’s downhill from there!
Below are just a few mistakes men make during divorce.
1. Not hiring a divorce attorney soon enough: In most situations, women have the upper hand in divorce cases. The sooner you have an attorney to explain your legal rights and how you should behave during your divorce the quicker you will level the playing field.
If you have children and want to protect your relationship with your children, getting in and retaining an attorney quickly is, in my opinion, your main responsibility to your role as a father during divorce.
2. Negative retaliation: Once they learn their wife wants a divorce some men become hell-bent on destroying her. I’ve talked to men who, plainly still loved their wives but, allowed the pain of divorce cause them to go off the wall insane with the need to punish her for leaving.
Take the high road guys! I know the pain you are in. I went through an unwanted divorce myself and the desire to slap back when someone hurts you is human nature. That doesn’t mean you should give into that side of your nature.
Don’t bad-mouth your wife. Don’t talk to everyone and anyone who will listen about her trying to take the house, car, and kids. That only makes you look bad and, when she gets wind of the belittling statements about her by you, you’ve given her reason to say, “See, see how mean and unreasonable he is, I really had no choice but to leave him.”
Don’t ever give her ammunition to use against you! Hold your head high and, like I said, take the high road.
3. Refusing to negotiate: “I’m not giving her a damn thing she is asking for.” This goes back to letting anger and hurt feelings drown out your ability to think logically. Which is better, negotiating with her or, letting a judge decide who will get what?
An unwillingness to mediate and negotiate increases the cost of your divorce and, in the end, she is going to get some of what she is asking for whether you like it or not. So, get civil and reasonable and maybe she also will in return.
If she doesn’t and you two do wind up in front of a judge she will look like the unreasonable one, you will look like the one putting forth effort and, that is going to gain favor with the judge. Negotiation during divorce will get you further than retaliation!
4. Let one attorney handle the divorce: You don’t want to retaliate, you are willing to negotiate, you’re going to take the high road and give her a divorce. But, then you make the mistake of agreeing to use one attorney. Don’t do this! Even if your divorce is civil and both of you are working cooperatively together to bring the marriage to an end, always have your own attorney. Why?
You want your own legal representation to go over any settlement agreement before it is signed and filed with the courts. Your legal divorce rights are important. I applaud you for being able to negotiate your own divorce settlement but, have an attorney take a look at it to make sure you haven’t given away the bank or put yourself in a one-down position as far as child custody or spousal support.
5. Moving out of the marital home: She wants the divorce, why do you have to move? I know, I know, your kids need somewhere to live so, you do the “right” thing and pack a bag and move out. Here is the thing, your kids have somewhere to live…in their home with you. And, legally you have as much right to stay in the marital home as your wife does. If she wants a divorce, tell her to find somewhere to live and that the children will be with you, in the home.
6. Living separately from their children: Until there is a court order, ordering you to give up parental rights to your children you have the constitutional right to live in the same home your children live in. Don’t move away from your children and if she leaves the marital home don’t allow her to take the children with her.
If she attempts to take the children contact your lawyer, ask him to file an ex-parte petition for custody and let her prove to the courts that the children should be uprooted from you and the family home just because she wants a divorce.
By staying with your children you set a precedence that can be used in court to win 50/50 custody. If you can show a judge that you have remained fully engaged in your role as a father and didn’t voluntarily give up time with your children then divorce won’t be a legal reason to break that bond.
As a man, if you don’t get ahead of the game by letting go of the anger, negative emotions and getting your head screwed on straight the divorce will be extremely lopsided for you. Don’t let your blown mind cause you to have to deal with the consequences of a divorce that blows your entire world apart. Avoid the six mistakes men make during divorce mentioned in this article, and the process will go much easier.