Earlier this week, we began a discussion about common mistakes that men tend to make when getting a divorce. These were first shared on the lifestyle site AskMen.com.
Our last post focused on striking the right emotional balance and avoiding the traps of aggressiveness and passivity. Today’s post will focus on strategic mistakes men commonly make during divorce.
The first thing to note is that you do need an attorney. Your wife may try to convince you that her attorney can represent both of you in order to save time and money. But it is easy to see that there is an inherent conflict of interest in that scenario. Even couples who engage in collaborative divorce or mediation often consult with their own, separate attorneys.
Men also commonly make mistakes when it comes to their children. Your wife may try to limit or altogether deny visitation with your children during the custody dispute. In doing so, she is likely using the children as leverage to either get what she wants or to punish you. It is important in this situation to keep your cool, discuss the situation with your attorney and avoid responding in kind.
Fathers’ rights groups will tell you that men are often at a disadvantage in child custody negotiations. But if you can demonstrate that your spouse is trying to use your children as pawns (and that you will not do that), it will likely work in your favor. Courts value parents who cooperate and put the children’s needs first.
Finally, a big divorce mistake to avoid is having a too-narrow view of your marital assets. When dividing property, there are bound to be some disagreements and even disputes. But before going 10 rounds with your spouse about the dining room furniture, you should ask yourself two important questions. These are: How expensive is this item? And is it replaceable?
Disputes over property division sometimes become a surrogate for the unresolved relationship issues. It’s one thing if you’re arguing over a treasured family heirloom or other highly valuable piece of property. But if it is relatively inexpensive and replaceable, remember that replacing it will likely be cheaper than paying attorney fees to argue about it for two or three hours.
No one handles their divorce perfectly. But a little guidance on the front end can help you avoid the more common and damaging mistakes. If you have further questions or need more case-specific advice, please contact an experienced family law attorney.
Source: The Huffington Post, “The 10 Worst Mistakes Most Guys Make When Getting Divorced,” Jeffery M. Leving, Oct. 29, 2014