No-Nonsense Divorce Advice For Men
Tired of reading divorce articles that are geared towards women? Here are 10 practical tips written just for men to get you through divorce – and beyond. Here is our No-Nonsense Divorce Advice For Men:
1. Ask for 50-50 custody (if you want it). Many men have the misconception that the courts favor mothers. That may have been the case in past generations, but no longer. Judges want children to have equal access to both parents. Even if you child is an infant and has been in the primary care of your partner, the court will put a step-up plan in place to equalize visitation time as your child gets older. Bottom line: if you want 50-50 custody, ask for it.
2. Check your anger. Men tend to be more comfortable with anger than sadness. But acting out of anger will just inflame conflict and make co-parenting difficult. If you have a contentious divorce, flashes of anger could lead to allegations of abuse, especially if your children witness your behavior. Find constructive ways to manage your anger: exercise, meditation, therapy.
3. Don’t flaunt your new romantic partner. Most people go a little crazy in the beginning of a new, passionate relationship. But don’t let infatuation cloud your judgment. Posting lovey-dovey photos of your new paramour on your social media accounts or introducing him/her to the kids while you’re still legally married can turn a garden-variety divorce into an acrimonious one.
4. Get it in writing. A verbal agreement is not an agreement; it’s meaningless and won’t hold up in court. If you’re not formalizing your divorce because you want to avoid legal fees, be “friendly,” keep things “open,” or you’re afraid of rocking the boat with your ex, you run the risk of setting precedents that will be hard to change later.
5. Love your kids more than you hate your ex. Plain and simple: seeking revenge against your ex hurts your children. They don’t want to hear you bad-mouth their other parent, be pressured to take sides, or be used as messengers. Living in a war zone is a lousy way to spend a childhood. It creates anxiety and can damage your child’s ability to form healthy relationships as they mature. So shift your focus from hating your ex to nurturing your children’s well-being.
6. Follow the court order. The court order is not there to punish you or make you feel like a child. It’s there to provide safety and structure for you, your ex, and your kids going forward. Playing games with child support, the visitation schedule, or court-ordered modes of communication will just create chaos, more legal fees, and possibly a change in custody.
7. Treat your co-parenting relationship like a business relationship. Part of accepting divorce means transitioning from a romantic relationship to a business relationship. You and your ex are now co-CEOs of a company called Our Children. If you and your former spouse keep fighting, you will run your “company” into the ground. So be respectful, follow the court order, and don’t let emotion fuel your behavior.
8. Don’t create drama or put up with drama. Drama will not make anything better; in fact, it will make things a lot worse. Part of your job as a parent is to teach your kids healthy relationship and conflict resolution skills – which they won’t learn if you participate in a war with your ex. So be a good role model and behave like an adult.
9. Practice a low-conflict communication strategy. Unskillful electronic communication drives high-conflict divorce. When writing emails or texts to your ex, keep your feelings, opinions, and need to feel superior out of it. Be brief, informative (no op-eds!), polite, and firm. Firm doesn’t mean giving ultimatums; it means that you set boundaries and keep them.
10. Take care of your mental health. Most men grow up to believe that displaying emotion makes them weak. But anger is still an emotion and it often masks sadness. Squashing your feelings won’t make them go away. If you’re chronically irritable, explosive, or depressed, do yourself (and your kids) a favor by seeing a mental health professional.
Disclaimer: like all information on the site, this divorce advice for men blog is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice. For legal advice, please connect with a certified matrimonial attorney directly.