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Divorce Blog

No Nonsense Divorce Tips for Men

By Karen Stewart

Serious Bearded ManDivorce does not need to define you but how you choose to move through it can. The old adage – Fail to plan – plan to fail is rite with wisdom. While finding yourself on the doorsteps of divorce may not have been your plan – you can start taking charge. Set the course and commit to take control of the things you can and manage the things you can’t. There is light at the end of the tunnel and if you embrace the lessons, the light will shine brightly.

Tips to set the course and stay the course

Accept the Ending

Denial is a fear-based reaction to adversity that prevents you from seeing, feeling and accepting the truth thus prolonging the journey through pain. Endings are difficult and there is no ending more heart wrenching than a marriage. Men sometimes feel the need to be “right”. The problem is that when two people divorce, history is rewritten by the parties and the filter we use to look back over our time together is a completely different filter than the one we used when we were married. At the doorsteps of divorce, the parties may have an entirely different perception of the exact same marriage. Men particularly struggle with this disconnect and yet trying to change it will only result in much frustration and further delusion. She sees it differently and you will just have to get over it.

Embrace the Feelings

Dads words “be brave, suck it up or stop the tears” does nothing to help you transition from the past. Men are certainly more open today than before with regards to their introspection and feelings but we still have some way to go. Seeking counselling at the time of the divorce makes sense. The good news is that men are becoming more open to the concept of “talking it out” and they are finding the rewards that do go with this kind of catharsis.

Engage the right party and methodology for moving through divorce

There are many ways to move through the actual divorce process but making the right decision at the beginning can mean the difference between months/years of expensive, stressful chaos or empowered analytical timely resolution. Avoid at all costs the more adversarial legal separation process of affidavits and court appearances as you will lose – it is only a matter of how much. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that the courts will give you vindication. Look for other alternatives that both ensure you make sound decisions based on the law and that move you through a process that reduces time and cost. Do your research and discuss the options with your soon to be ex.

Protect your children and the ability for positive co-parenting

Never under any circumstance bad mouth the mother of your children. Whether you like it or not they are half her and when there are harsh words of any kind about her – you are telling them that half of them is not OK. Is this common sense? Yes – but in reality, this is a very difficult promise to keep as we get caught off guard with our feelings and we react with our words. If this happens then apologize immediately to your children. You can certainly explain that this is a stressful time for you and that perhaps you may say things but that you are sorry for and that you will endeavour to not slip up again. Knowing you are human and that you make mistakes but also that you are accountable when you do, will actually help to build the self-esteem of your kids and give them a great life lesson. Tell them you love them often and that your marriage breakdown has nothing to do with them.

Put together a Parenting Plan with your Ex-Wife

There is nothing more important than your children and the ability for them to move forward with both parents in an empowering way. How you choose to move through your divorce will set the stage for the future and the ability for your ex and you to co-parent. You certainly do not need to be friends but you do need to be mutually respectful. Remember that the only person you have control of is yourself. If your partner is behaving badly that should have no bearing on your behaviour. Research shows that children need at least one stable parent/guardian and so if that has to be you then so be it. Get over what she says or does not say about you and focus on being the best you can be as an ex-husband, co-parent and parent. A co-parenting plan that sets out how, what, where and when with regards to the children will make life a lot easier for everyone – especially your children.

Be financially prudent

The Divorce Laws in Canada/Alberta set out that matrimonial property is split 50/50. Do not fool yourself that while the “letter of the law” may appear black and white you can easily spend years in a court battle over what is really very grey. Do not think for a minute that because it appears so obvious to you that a Judge or your wife’s lawyer will see it that way. Many a fool has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and years trying to prove that their math is the right math to only find out that there are many ways of solving the same problem and perception is everything. Our system may be Just but it is not always Fair. Decide at the outset that your hard-earned wealth should be divided in two and not in thirds or worst. Seek out negotiators or mediators with a strong financial acumen so that while you split the pie today your decisions maximize your wealth for tomorrow.

And lastly…

Embrace the Journey as Everything Happens for a Reason.