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.

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.

Blunders Men Often Make After Divorce

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Blunders Men Often Make After Divorce

Men are just as overwhelmed, grief stricken and hurt by a divorce as women are. Especially in today’s world where many guys are hit with “sudden divorce syndrome” where their wife serves them with divorce papers when they didn’t even know a problem was occurring. Men in this situation should open up. Oftentimes in our society men don’t feel comfortable sharing their emotions because they’ve been taught to suppress them. However, this bottling up is not good for your health, leading to more stress, anxiety, depression and more. So it’s important to let those negative emotions out in a positive way. Make it a way you feel comfortable with but don’t bottle it all up inside or it’s liable to explode at some point, causing you social embarrassment or worse. Here are some other blunders men often make after divorce.  Dating too soon is one major mistake a lot of divorced guys make according to psychologist Sam J. Buser, PhD. Lots of guys haven’t healed from their divorce wounds and find themselves already attached or even married. The trouble is these relationships generally don’t last. “I advise my patients to wait at least two years. I’ve never had a man take me up on that advice, but I do try to slow them down.” Buser said you should date casually. “Tell the woman you’ve just been through a tough divorce and that you’re not ready for a committed relationship,” he says. If she’s the right woman she’ll understand and she’ll wait.

Some guys go the other way and totally isolate themselves. This is especially true if he has children and they are with his ex most of the time. Guilt, loneliness, misplaced anger, and more take their toll. Divorced men are 50% more likely to commit suicide and have higher rates of alcoholism. According to Buser, “You don’t have to drink every day to have a problem. Drinking a six pack is a binge.” So what can you do? Reach out to family members and old friends. Meet new friends and make more business contacts. Join a club, professional association or even a local sports team. Going back to school is also a good option. If you have a new partner, wait until the right time to introduce them to your children. Lots of fathers end up making this introduction too soon. Emeritus professor of psychology at Florida International University in Miami, Gordon E. Finley, PhD, a specialist on divorced men says, “The last thing the kids want to see is parents getting involved with someone else.” The children generally harbor a secret longing for their parents to reunite. Buser agrees with Finley adding, “Focus on the other adult when starting a relationship. She can meet the kids when you know you are serious.” If you have to co-parent don’t become hostile to the mother of your children, nor should you let her hostility get in the way. Use diplomacy and focus on the children’s welfare. Don’t back off either. Make sure you are involved for their sake. For more, read The Guys-Only Guide to Getting Over Divorce by Sam J. Buser, PhD.

Men take Divorce Particularly Hard

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Men take Divorce Particularly Hard

In our society we often think that men are emotionally stronger than women. Men are thought to be able to carry emotional burdens much better. So it is thought that women are far more distraught by a divorce than men. But a recent study published in the Journal of Men’s Health says that, in fact, men take divorce particularly hard. Depression, substance abuse and mortality rates are all higher for men after a divorce says the study. Men also generally have a lack of social support compared to their female counterparts. Due to the incredible stress and anxiety, misplaced anger, depression and all kinds of other psychological conditions that can arise or be aggravated by divorce, a whole host of behavioral and psychological disorders may result. Other studies have shown that single men live a shorter lifespan and have more health problems than married men. But this is the first time that we have seen divorce as a significant contributing factor to men’s health outcomes. The researchers said that these results highlight the need for intervening and getting men the help that they need when they are going through a divorce in order to head off or mitigate any divorce related health issues.  More studies have to be conducted to find out exactly what contributes to such health risks to determine what specific psychological and medical therapies can be administered to help men cope with divorce and mitigate the negative health impacts.

According to Ridwan Shabsigh, M.D., “Popular perception, and many cultures as well as the media present men as tough, resilient, and less vulnerable to psychological trauma than women. However, this article serves as a warning signal not to follow such unfounded perceptions.” Men suffer serious psychological trauma after divorce. Instead of ignoring the issue, we should be more aware and help men to express themselves, their feelings on the divorce and ways to manage negative emotional consequences. According to Shabsigh, “The fact is that men get affected substantially by psychological trauma and negative life events such as divorce, bankruptcy, war, and bereavement”. “Research is urgently needed to investigate the prevalence and impact of such effects and to develop diagnosis and treatment guidelines for practitioners.” If there is a man in your life going through divorce offer him an ear. He may not take it, or he may ponder it and get back to you. Don’t force the issue. Just let him know you are there for him if he wants to talk or spend time together. Lots of people wallow in self-misery during a divorce. Having a little time to reflect is a good thing. But if you notice that weeks and months are passing and he’s still a home body, why not convince him to have a night out?

If you are a man going through a divorce, don’t suffer in silence because you think you have to. Reach out to your friends and family. That’s what they are there for. It shouldn’t be embarrassing. In fact, asking for help when you need it can be one of the bravest things you can do. The reason men cope worse than women, many psychologists believe, is because women often have stronger social networks and women open up about their feelings and seek out emotional support. That doesn’t mean you have to do or say anything that is against your personality. But instead, find ways you are comfortable with to reach out. Don’t be afraid to go beyond your comfort zone a little however. Avoid negative ways such as alcohol and illicit drugs to deal with stress. Journaling, exercise, watching funny movies, having coffee with a friend, meditation and yoga are all great ways to relieve stress. One thing yoga classes are full of is women; often single women. Still, don’t start dating until you are ready. A good rule of thumb is, if all you can see yourself doing is complaining about your ex-wife, or comparing your date to her, then you’re not ready to date. Some people feel better after a rebound relationship, some worse. Studies have shown that a rebound could help increase self-esteem. Do what feels right and make sure you are always safe. If you are struggling with post-divorce depression, a very common experience, seek help from your physician or a mental health professional. For more advice, read A Man’s Guide to Surviving Divorce: How to Cope & Move On with Life by R.L. Blackwood. 

10 Steps to Divorcing your Wife

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Divorce can be so painful emotionally. Who did what to who is often dragged out between husband and wife while the whole mess plays out. Besides custody the biggest issue of contention is splitting up the assets. Of course both parties’ assets should be included in the negotiations. Oftentimes however one or both parties is ignorant about the household finances. At other times one may be hiding assets from the other but where to look remains a mystery. If your wife is working but the squeeze was put on her salary, or you don’t know what the house is worth due to the Great Recession, don’t worry, you are not alone. There are ways to figure this out, too. A divorce may be protracted and even excruciating but the good news is it’s only a temporary bump on the road of life. There is light at the end of the tunnel. You will certainly be happy again. Though there is a lot of stress, anguish, and sometimes other emotions like guilt, sadness and regret, pretty soon you’ll have all of this behind you. You just have to find out how to manage the situation as well as you can, take breaks for your mental health, manage the situation wisely and keep your head on straight. If you can do that you’ll get through this thing smashingly. Here are 10 steps to divorcing your wife. Step 1: If you’ve been handing your paycheck over to your wife for years and don’t know where the money is going, it behooves you to do so now. Find out everything you can about the finances. Do you have a retirement plan, a mortgage, credit card bills, investments, tax returns and copies of the trust and wills? If not, you’d better get on that. Get as many financial papers together as you can and get to know intimately your financial situation. Ignorance is not bliss and what you don’t know can be used against you, or hidden from you.

Step 2: Take a look into all of your spouse’s affairs. You’ll want to know as much as you can to relate back to your lawyer. Step 3: Protect yourself. Are you the victim of “sudden divorce syndrome?” If so, your wife may have a plan on how she’s going to keep afloat. Make sure to put some money aside just in case. You don’t want to be left in the dark while she cleans out the joint bank account. Step 4: Now it’s time to open a separate credit card in your name only. Step 5: Freeze joint credit cards and any open a home equity line so your wife doesn’t run up the bills. While you two are still legally married your credit can be affected by whatever she is spending. Cancel the joint bank account, too. You don’t want to be left without any cash or credit to your name. If you two are on decent terms you can work this out together, cancelling the cards and splitting the joint account amicably. If not you can take your share out of the joint account and cancel the cards altogether. Step 6: Do you have any savings you brought with you to the marriage, an inheritance or any other personal savings? Make sure to take custody of these immediately. Depending upon what state you live in, if you don’t secure it, it could be split during the settlement.

Step 7: Do you each have retirement plans? If so, both can come up in the divorce settlement. If you are cordial, perhaps this is something to be worked out on your own. If not so cordial, secure your retirement plan. If you have an IRA with a written agreement, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or QDRO will be required before you can touch any of that money. For a traditional pension a financial professional will have to assess it. Step 8: Look at the alimony situation. Does your wife work? If she has a low salary or doesn’t acquire one at all you may be paying alimony. But you won’t have to supply her lifestyle with cash forever. Spouses are expected to go out and get jobs these days. Step 9: If your wife was working and you weren’t but you need the health insurance, remember that you have sixty days to sign up for it. Step 10: Have a financial adviser help you plan out your finances from the start. Select a good lawyer with a good reputation and lots of experience. Keep talking to your friends and family. Learn to get things off your chest. Don’t get stuck on the little things; look at the big picture. Heal your heart and when you’re ready look for someone to love again. For more, be sure to read Divorce – Get Your Life Back In 30 Days After A Divorce Or Break Up – For Men by Francisco Bujan.