Common Mistakes Fathers make in Divorce

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Common Mistakes Fathers make in Divorce

Lots of men are angry and hurt when faced with divorce papers. Due to these emotions, fathers make common mistakes in the divorce process and end up hurting their wallets, their children, even themselves. With a little forethought and preparation you can avoid these hazards and help make the transition as smooth as possible for you and your children.

Lots of guys for instance use litigation as a force for revenge. They drive up the cost as a tactic to try to make their ex crack. Everyone in the process suffers because of it and you come out looking like the bad guy. Some states even have laws against this. If you purposely make moves in order to drive up the cost you could be hit with a pretty hefty fine. Instead, think of your overall goals. Don’t be led astray by an attorney who would want to take part in such practices. Do your research and pick an attorney that’s right for you. Keep your emotions in check and don’t use the legal process as a vindictive device, or a way to throw a temper tantrum.

Another problem lots of men make is financially stretching themselves too thin. There is alimony, child support, and your own expenses. You could easily work yourself to death and not get anywhere in the process. Make sure you plan out your financial goals and strategy with an attorney, perhaps even an accountant. Having a financial game plan in place will help you manage your life properly. You’ll also want to consult with an attorney concerning your goals in regards to your children. Do you want joint custody, visitation or what? Know what you are aiming for, what is reasonable, what emotional state your ex is in and what she will likely go for. The most important thing of course is the children. But a lot of couples get caught in trying to hurt one another and the kids get caught in the middle.

That said, it’s also important not to give in too much and miss out on having the kids in your life. Children need love, support and attention from both parents regularly. Don’t compromise them out of your life. Do not use the children as leverage in any way. Not only is this despicable it will hurt your relationship with them. Lastly, don’t let child support payments pile up unattended. Or else, with penalties and fees, you’ll soon find yourself in the poor house. For more advice read, Fathers’ Rights: Hard-Hitting and Fair Advice for Every Father Involved in a Custody Dispute by Jeffery M. Leving and Kenneth A. Dachman, Ph.D.

The Aftereffects of Cheating on a Marriage

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The Aftereffects of Cheating on a Marriage

Once you find out about cheating, it can cut you so deep that it feels as though the pain will never go away. If you are the cheater you start to realize how getting sucked up in the moment can have tremendous consequences on your life. But what are the real aftereffects of cheating on a marriage? If you are staying together, it means trying to pick up the pieces and reestablish trust, no easy feat there. You may feel like you are in jail or constantly on trial in your own house. If you are the victim of cheating you’ll feel like you’re living with a criminal, someone who reminds you constantly of the betrayal, someone you are always suspicious of no matter what they are doing. It’s hard to reestablish trust and it takes lots of time.

If you aren’t staying together, realize that unless the assets were used to conduct an affair, no fault divorce laws in every state means that cheating has no legal bearing on the separation of assets. In Florida the law is such that if a husband was meeting a lover, let’s say at a hotel room using his and his wife’s shared account, if she can prove it she can recoup that money. Adultery may come into play in a custody battle if the lawyer can prove that it shows evidence of that person being a bad parent.

The psychological aftereffects of cheating after divorce are low self-esteem, anxiety, anger and the need for revenge, depression and for some a disconnect from reality. Sometimes you realize the affair all of a sudden and it ends the marriage. Sometimes it’s one person’s dirty little secret that the other knows about, but tolerates for a time. But sooner or later enough is enough. Either way when you find out you’ve been cheated on the pain can be overwhelming. And when it leads to a divorce it is compounded, especially if it is a long, drawn out and painful divorce with fighting over the assets or custody of the children.

Lots of people need to rest after that, reconnect with themselves, their friends, and their family. They have to get used to being divorced and being single again. There are lots of adjustments to be made. Where will you live? Do you have to go back to work? There’s the need for validation which usually comes from dating again or a rebound relationship. Am I attractive? Will others find me sexy? Sooner or later everyone gets over infidelity even if it leads to divorce. It’s a painful journey but light is at the end of that tunnel. Usually things fall into place in the long run. For more help with recovering from an affair, read the book, Transcending Post-Infidelity Stress Disorder (PISD): The Six Stages of Healing by Dennis C. Ortman, Ph.D.

What Content should Online Co-parenting Classes Have?

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What Content should Online Co-parenting Classes Have?

Some states now require divorcing couples with children to take classes online in co-parenting. Experts believe that these classes are beneficial as they teach parents how to position themselves in order to take care of the child’s needs given the new family dynamic. The trouble is that each divorce and family situation is unique. Since divorces aren’t uniform, what content should these classes have? Experts say it should have many different tracks. One section should be for parents to mitigate their own emotions. A parent’s emotional state will inevitably affect the children and the divorce process, which affects them as well. The better a parent can cope, the better the child will do as well. University of Illinois researcher Jill Bowers who specializes in human and community development says there should also be sections for specific problems such as alcoholism and violence.  “There is no cookie-cutter divorcing couple, and with online programming, educators are able to supply content that applies to diverse family situations,” said Bowers. She began evaluating online courses in divorce education in 2011. Bowers continued saying, “Program developers could create a two-hour core component that would apply to many divorcing or separating couples with children; then parents could have the option of choosing other topics based on their interests, or results of a pre-test could direct parents to further hours of programming based on their unique needs.”

Bowers authored a recent study evaluating such a program. 1,543 participants took part in these online courses. The creator of the program asked the researcher to provide feedback. 46 states now require parents to take online co-parenting classes when divorcing. The length of time varies depending upon the state. From two to six hours of programming is generally required before a divorce can be granted. Bowers said, “Divorcing parents must pay for these classes, which used to involve classroom instruction. In the past decade, however, course selection has expanded to include many online offerings, and that’s created a market for online program developers and educators.” Bowers checks to see whether or not programs are based on actual research. She says, “An online search for parenting after divorce generates millions of results, but that doesn’t mean the answers you’ll find are from credible or reliable sources. I believe it’s important for online educators to cite their courses and explicitly talk about their conceptual foundations so audiences can distinguish credible sources from self-proclaimed experts. Then judges and parents should look for programs that are scientifically grounded in divorce, child development, relationships, and communication literature.”

Most programs focus on child-parent communication and interaction. Bowers says they do a good job in helping parents communicate what is happening in the divorce to children at different ages and stages. There are lots of strategies to help children deal with their new family dynamic and for handling a situation where one parent is bad-mouthing the other. “But adult-focused content could be enhanced. For example, research shows that parents who have not had time to grieve the loss of the relationship may experience emotional issues, and because of their grief or anger, they may be unable to help their children cope. Programs could be improved by adding content that helps parents address their emotional needs so they would be better equipped to help their children through the transition period. We’d also like to see strategies that parents can use when conflict is escalating,” Bowers said. Some adult lessons would include topics such as sex, cohabitation, introducing a child to a new partner and blended families. What’s more, the legal system parents enter into is complex and confusing according to Bower. Online programs could enlighten parents on items including mediation, legal terms and processes, financial obligations—including child support and more. Bowers said, “The companies that have developed these programs appear to be very committed to helping families. The ones we have worked with have been especially responsive to our evaluations. We know that divorce is a really tough time for families, and we hope that these suggestions for adapting course content and design of mandated co-parenting classes can not only make a difficult and often traumatic experience easier but that it can also optimize outcomes for parents and children going through this process.” To learn more about divorce as a process and how to come out of it in a good position read, The Divorce Survival Guide: The Roadmap for Everything from Divorce Finance to Child Custody by Calistoga Press.

Higher Suicide Rate Among Divorced

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Higher Suicide Rate Among Divorced

Evidence is mounting from several studies that show that the divorced and separated suffer higher suicide rates. The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health recently published a study that showed that the separated and divorced were 2.4 times more apt to commit suicide than those who were married. Critics say however that the study did not enlighten us on whether or not there was a differentiation between genders. A University of California study piggybacking on this earlier study occurred to see if there was a difference between the suicide rate of divorced men from divorced women, using data of non-Hispanic white men and women culled from the US National Longitudinal Mortality Study between the years 1979-1989. This study found that, “divorced men were over eight times more likely to commit suicide than women.” Men were 9.7 times more likely to kill themselves than divorced women who had gone through a similar circumstance. That means there are nine divorced men who kill themselves for every divorced woman. The plight of the divorced man in America is difficult indeed. But why is the suicide rate for divorced men so much higher? Some researchers believe society has ignored this phenomenon and has failed to search for reasons. A summary for this study states that two leading psychologists in the field believe that, while social, psychological, and even personal problems facing women are readily denounced, societal institutions tend to ignore or minimize male problems as evident in suicide statistics.

Another issue is the natural estrangement due to the supposition in many parts of the U.S. where it is thought that the bond between a mother and child is stronger than that of a father and child. The wife is therefore far more likely to gain custody of the children during the divorce settlement. So now he has not only lost his wife, perhaps his house but his children as well. This is a dramatic shift in the man’s lifestyle and can feel like a terrible loss. Men may feel betrayed by the ex-wife or the court system. This will begin to be a heavy emotional burden and he may feel intense anxiety, or suffer from depression. Depression and suicide often go hand-in-hand. There is a societal difference too between the genders. While women are expected to deal with psychological and social problems while going through a divorce and therefore are extended sympathy, men in our society are supposed to “man up” or control their emotions. It may be this lack of an emotional outlet that creates a situation where men let the pain of a divorce build up inside and with no outlet, the raging torrent within him turns him toward suicide. Still, researchers say that this topic needs more research and more targeted studies to gain more results.

There are many things you can do if you suffer from post-divorce depression. Know that there is help via support groups for men, women, and anyone suffering the pain and loss that is divorce. Counseling with a mental health professional that you trust and can gain a rapport with can also help through this trying time. There are many things you can do on your own besides going to counseling. Taking up an exercise program can help lift the fog of depression. Exercise is one of nature’s most potent anti-depressants. Reach out to friends and family and vent, let them know how you feel. Get hugs. It sounds silly but it helps quite a bit. Watch funny movies. Keep a journal. Write a goodbye letter saying all the things you want to say and letting it all out.  You can write essentially a “Good riddance” letter about all the things you will no longer have to deal with. Make a dream board. Practice yoga. Take up a musical instrument or an artistic hobby. Start playing a sport. Take a road trip with an old friend. Travel to a country you’ve never been to before but always wanted to go to. Practice transcendental meditation. Go back to school. Get a second job to save up for something. Keep yourself busy. Allow yourself to grieve. But don’t wallow there. When the time is right, step out of the darkness and into the light. For more on this read, Divorce Is Not The End But A New Beginning: A Step-by-Step Divorce Guide to Help You Deal With Your Feelings and Move On by Kate Foster.

The Difference between a Single Father and a Divorced Dad

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The Difference between a Single Father and a Divorced Dad

There are lots of single moms and dads out there nowadays looking for love. It’s about finding someone who they have chemistry with, have fun with and who fits their own wants, needs and desires in a mate, in addition they have to like, interact well with and be a good role model for the children. This is particularly true for single moms. But many women, although finding men they like, feel there is a difference between a single father and a divorced dad. In this view a single father is one who has custody of the children and takes care of them full-time. These women thus believe that a single father understands what they go through and so can relate to and blend into their lifestyle much better than a divorced dad. A divorced dad on the other hand gets the children every other weekend and perhaps one day during the week. In this, they have all kinds of free time and don’t have to act like a responsible parent at this time. So women assume that he may be irresponsible and in fact a bad influence on the children. Furthermore, since he doesn’t have this as a full-time responsibility he may not understand nor be able to commit to the rigorous lifestyle she is accompanied with.

The trouble is many men are offended by this compartmentalization. Many don’t get a choice in what form of custody they are assigned. They also wonder, does not having your children full-time really make you less of a father? According to the U.S. Census 6.1% of fathers had full-time custody of their children in 1993, but that number jumped to 18.3% in 2011. So why are women generally given custody of the children? Basically because it’s our tradition. According to Attorneys.com, “Traditionally, men worked and women stayed home to raise children. Although that is less frequently the case these days, there is still a bias toward women in child custody cases. From a biological perspective, we are more inclined to think of the mother-child relationship than the father-child relationship. Many people make the automatic assumption that women are more nurturing as parents than men.” But today with female employment up to 47% and the increase of stay-at-home dads, it’s clear that men can be nurturing parents as well. According to a recent article in the Huffington Post author Doug Zeigler writes of what his attorney told him when he asked about getting custody, “Well, in this country, you’re not going to get custody. It just doesn’t happen unless the woman is a drug addict, a danger to your kids or a mental patient. You’ll be in the minority if you get more than every other weekend with your sons. My advice would be to do all you can to keep her happy, so that she’ll be easier to deal with when it comes to custody.” But that’s easier said than done during a divorce. Men shouldn’t be stereotyped by women like this, especially from the dating pool of single moms, and particularly when the system is geared for dads to end up this way. If you’re considering dating a divorced father, read Dating the Divorced Man: Sort Through the Baggage to Decide if He’s Right for You by Christie Hartman.