Tips for survival and how to “get it right”

There is little doubt that divorce is one of the most devastating events a man can endure in his lifetime. Many men have described the experience as similar to a sudden death in the family. If you are in this situation, you are most likely trying to navigate a very complex set of circumstances where absolutely nothing is certain. You are emotionally vulnerable and as a result, you are at risk of making some mistakes which you may come to regret when the dust has settled.

Let’s be honest – divorce is inherently ugly and unpleasant.

But when it comes to some open and frank discussions about splitting up, we very rarely hear about the male experience of divorce and particularly, the things men should know when facing divorce. These tips will help prepare yourself for the road ahead.

5 Insider Tips:

1. Be PROACTIVE!

Wishing away the divorce simply doesn’t work!

The worst thing you can possibly do is to bury your head in the sand and hope that it will pass. Why is that? Because not doing the right thing by facing the music “head-on” has long term consequences.

The best thing you can do when faced with a possible divorce is to gather up the troops and start a conversation – you’re going to need a strong support network. Spend some time with close men friends who can listen to you in those initial stages, because talking to people and “getting it all out” is extremely therapeutic. You’ll then find yourself in a better headspace to ask questions, inform yourself and openly discuss your divorce in a constructive manner.

 

 

2. DON’T forget about the CHILDREN!

OK! – so your marriage has ended and life as you know it no longer exists. But the one constant during this time of upheaval is the children. And who connects you to the children?

That’s right – your ex, their mother.

Realistically, the relationship you have with your ex should remain one of the most important relationships going forward, regardless of how you feel about her. For the same reasons you exhibit courtesy to succeed in your career, so too should you exhibit the same diplomacy and respect with your ex, so you can succeed as a parent. Try and be civil, even when it’s hard. And don’t make disparaging remarks to your children about their mother – it hurts them.

Right now, your children need you to be their father who teaches them about life.

 

3. Grieve and then grieve some more

I am a firm believer in taking time to grieve the loss of the relationship and coming to terms with what has happened to you before engaging in the legal process. If this is not possible, then it is important to realise that both parties are probably not capable of having serious and meaningful discussions about parenting arrangements or financial matters until the grieving process has commenced.

Women and men deal with grief differently and this has been the proverbial elephant in the room since the dawn of time.

Women wear their grief like a badge of honour, loud and proud and on full display during the divorce process. However, men tend to internalise their feelings, letting the grief bubble and boil just beneath the surface.

I was involved in a particular mediation about two years after the client’s marriage had broken down and in the middle of the mediation, the other party said, “You still haven’t apologised to me.” It was no surprise that the mediation failed, and it failed simply because one of the parties (in this case, the ex-wife) had not appropriately grieved.

 

“You still haven’t apologised to me.”

 

4. Engage a qualified lawyer

Whilst it may be tempting to use the same lawyer you used in your low-range drink driving matter when you were on your P’s because he’s cheap – please don’t.  The practice of family law has become increasingly specialised over the years and careless mistakes can last a lifetime.

Finding yourself a men’s divorce lawyer who specialises in navigating the complex psycho-social-legal issues men face in the separation and divorce process is the most important investment you’ll make to date.

 

5. Be mindful of repeating mistakes!

As the old saying goes, “a man is not meant to be alone”.

But, before jumping into a new relationship, be sure to evaluate your situation. If you have been unhappy for many years, then you need to analyse why. If it is because you were involved in another relationship or thinking about another relationship, you need to be very careful.

Time and time again, my clients are usually involved in another relationship by the time they’re engaging me to be their lawyer. And time and time again, men are leaving bad marriages for another relationship that is bound to fail from the start. Divorce is a life-altering process and it’s important to remember that who you are today isn’t necessarily who you’ll be when you wake up tomorrow. Be patient, learn to become “YOU” again and maybe then you can decide what’s next.  

 

Alicia Huppatz is a family lawyer providing bespoke legal services to loving, capable and competent father’s.

She helps father’s navigate the legal process and is committed to achieving for them equal time, or significant and substantial time with their children in a peaceful and collaborative way. Find Alicia’s details in the MEN’S ONLY of our directory!

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