Have you been served with divorce papers? The steps you take next can make or break your future and there’s no room for error. Just for guys, here are the most common mistakes men make when going through a divorce — with tips on how you can avoid them!
Deal with your emotions. Sure, it’s entirely natural to feel angry or hurt. You may want to see your wife get nothing in the divorce because you simply want revenge. You may feel so betrayed that you have the urge to simply walk away and let your spouse have everything, including your children. While these feelings are reasonable and common, you must avoid acting on them. Any extreme position that you take now will undoubtedly hurt you in the future. Need help coping? Here are some tips for working with a divorce therapist.
Get ready to negotiate. Adopting a “scorched-earth” approach where you refuse to negotiate with your spouse will bring you nothing but an elevated stress level and mounting legal bills. Insisting on your day in court will drag your divorce on for possibly years and will empty your pockets. On the other hand, turning tail and running because you simply cannot deal with the stress or emotion of the divorce will also not serve you well in the end, especially if you walk away from your children. You have to fight for what you are entitled to, which definitely includes the right to be as involved with your children as possible now and into the future. Check out these tips for honing your negotiation skills in divorce.
Get Your Own Divorce Counsel. It is never a good idea to use the same attorney as your spouse during the divorce process. For one, the attorney cannot formally represent both of you, because that is a conflict of interest and not permitted here in New Jersey. So, if you both are confiding in the same attorney, that can give rise to all sorts of conflicts, especially if you and your spouse are in a hostile situation. Schedule a consult with a attorneys and start devising a strategy that prioritizes your needs and protects your rights.
Explore Mediation. If you feel as though you and your spouse can sit down and work out a marital settlement agreement together, with a little help from a professional, then consider mediation. In mediation, you and your wife will be guided by a trained mediator who will attempt to get you to create your own agreement. The mediator does not represent either of you and instead acts as a neutral third party who assists you both in coming to a settlement quickly and with as little friction as possible. Even if you are unable to mediate all of your issues, the more you can work out, the less time you will spend in the courtroom. If you and your spouse simply cannot negotiate or agree on any terms, you both need competent and experienced attorneys to represent your individual interests in the divorce.
Don’t Move Out (If Possible): Unless you are in an incredibly hostile situation, do not volunteer to move out of the marital home. Just because your spouse asks or even demands that you leave, does not mean you are obligated to move out. Your house is your family home, and remaining there ensures that you continue to have frequent and continued contact with your kids on a day-to-day basis. Your staying in the home with your kids can provide them a measure of stability in what will undoubtedly become more and more uncertain for them moving forward. Leaving the home also gives your wife more control oven when, where and how you spend time with your children because she can now dictate when you have parenting time, when you pick them up and when they should be returned. If your situation with your spouse is so uncomfortable or if you are fighting so much that it is effecting your children it may be in their best interests to diffuse the situation. But, if you do move out, it is important that you insist on a written, strong and detailed custody and parenting time plan so that there is no confusion or upper hand for either of you when it comes to the kids.
Tap Into Your Inner Strength. Above all, be strong for yourself and for your children. Divorce is a difficult transition for anyone and you are not alone. If you feel that you need a safe space to vent your anger or frustrations through the process, consider a therapist who is familiar with high-conflict divorces and family reorganization.
If you are going through a divorce and want more information regarding custody, parenting time or any other issue, we can help. To schedule your initial consultation, please call us at 888-888-0919, or use our contact form. Speaking with one of our experienced and compassionate family law attorneys will help you devise a plan for securing your bright future.
(Women: you are not immune! Read our blog: 5 Worst Pieces of Divorce Advice for Women for more.)