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5 top divorce tips for men

It doesn’t matter whether you are a man or a woman; going through a divorce can be extremely stressful. Most people go through a range of emotions during or even before the process has begun. There are ways in which you can help yourself to deal with these stresses and I have set out below five top tips that I feel will benefit men going through divorce. There are also ideas of what men need to consider before they start the whole divorce process:

1. Think carefully before you act
I know it sounds like common sense but a lot of clients don’t really think through the consequences of their actions before carrying them out. For example, the angry client who has ranted and raved for the last thirty minutes to a lawyer and demands they send out an extremely aggressive letter to his wife immediately so that she can see that he will not be putting up with any nonsense from the start. Not a helpful way to start matters, particularly if there are children involved. This will instantly put the wife on the defensive and no doubt a letter will come straight back from her solicitors in like terms and off you go; correspondence flying back and forth with allegations and counter allegations. No negotiations entered into to try and resolve the situation and before you know it court proceedings issued and a Judge having to determine what is best for the children or how the assets should be divided. So basically STOP , LISTEN and THINK.

2. Before you even get married try and protect your assets
I know this is far from romantic but a lot of couples now decide to enter into prenuptial agreements prior to getting married. This can be done fairly simply. Both parties will exchange a disclosure of their current financial circumstances and an agreement is reached as to what should happen to any assets held before the marriage and any assets acquired during the marriage. This can hopefully minimise the amount of negotiation or litigation if a marriage should fail.

3. Do not involve the children in the matter
It is probably very easy to want to discuss the situation with the children, particularly if you feel you have been wronged, but you need to remember that they are the innocent party in these matters and that they need to remain children, rather than having adult conversations with you about the situation. Of course you should tell them that there is going to be a change in their circumstances but reassure them that you and your wife are doing everything possible to agree the arrangements and that you will of course always be their Dad.

4. Don’t listen to advice from the ‘fella down the pub’
Do seek proper legal advice about the situation. Unfortunately misinformation is common in divorce proceedings. Each case is individual and you need to be advised solely on your set of circumstances. Seek out a family law specialist who you can get accurate, professional advice from. This will help you to understand your legal rights and the likely outcome of proceedings. That way you can be open to negotiation if a reasonable offer is received and it can of course save you money and emotional stress if the matter can be settled out of court.

5. Try talking to a professional
Consider counselling, it may help. Talking to a trained professional about the changes that are occurring in your life will be a positive step forward. Too often men decide to keep their feelings wrapped up inside them. This is not productive and can lead to all sorts of problems in the future, possible even hinder a new relationship. Your lawyer is not the right person to give you counselling, but they may be able to suggest someone who can help you through this difficult time. A lot of men don’t even consider this option but it can assist them greatly and should be given due consideration.

Whilst not a definitive list of tips to consider hopefully for any men going through divorce it provides some pause for thought.

Andrew Woolley
Family Law Solicitors

Comments – 5 divorce tips for men

It is not that divorce is harder on men, it’s that they deal with the emotions at a later point than women do. Typically it is the woman who initiates the divorce and because of this, she begins what I call the “Emotional Shut Down Syndrome.” During the relationship she decides it is over and she begins the grieving process, leading to a point where her emotions are severed from her husband. This can take many months or years to happen. By the time she informs her husband she wants out of the marriage, he is at the beginning stages of the emotional roller coaster ride while she at the end. Regarding counseling for men, I agree, they tend to have an aversion to going. Eighty five to 100% of my clients are men who come to me for divorce. Although by training I am a marriage and family therapist, my work is not counseling. Instead, I work with men for no more than 1-2 sessions using mediation techniques to get them through the challenging period. Basically, I’m not in the business in emotions but in telling them what they need to do. They respond favorably to this.

By Nancy Fagan on Wednesday October 6, 2010

From my experience (but avoiding stereotypes), I find that men tend towards a pratical approach to problem solving and take what is said literally, whereas women tend to express themselves and problem solve in different way. I’ve seen cases where husband & wife have the same goals (ie. acheiving what’s best for their kids), but need translation to properly understand what the other is saying and meaning. The difference in communication also extends into coping and being open to help, I agree the men tend to be adverse to going to “counselling”, but call it something else and they can be easier to convince that it’s a good idea – perhaps a “counsellor” for women, and a “solutions coach” for men?…

By Colin Mitchell on Wednesday October 6, 2010

Based on the longevity figures for men v. women when widowed, my educated guess is that men psychologically fare less well, on average, after long-term marriages end, than women do, unless they remarry. The only good news for them is that above a certain age, so many of the other men have already passed on, that the remaining suddenly single men may find themselves to be hot commodities, if they’re at least coherent, continent, clean and solvent. …

By Richard Gould-Saltman on Wednesday October 6, 2010

I noticed early on in my practice that women and men handle divorce very differently, especially when they are not the party seeking the divorce. When a woman comes into my office because her husband is divorcing her, she is very often distraught, at a loss as to what her future holds, sometimes desparate to hold onto a life she thought she had, and traumatized by the fact that her husband has left her. However, by the end of the process, she is usually in much better shape. She will often have a handle on her new life, have her social networks in place, and generally have a plan for her future. 

Men, on the other hand, will come to my office and appear to be in better shape initially when they are being divorced by the spouse. But as the divorce process continues, they become more and more unhinged and are more of an emotional wreck by the end of the divorce. I think it is because men are in survival-mode in the beginning, and when they accept the fact that they are getting a divorce, they decide to just deal with it on a business level and move on. But they don’t really deal with it on an emotional level, and the emotions come back to haunt them. Women, however, may come close to an emotional breakdown when first confronted with the loss of the spouse, and then slowly but surely begin to rebuild their lives.

I think the word “coaching” is helpful in getting men to seek the help they need, and I suggest a visit to the doctor for meds if the client has trouble coping. (That advice goes for women, too). I am a big fan of therapy and urge my clients to consider it in almost every case. …

By Annette Henry on Thursday October 7, 2010

Blog Author - Andrew Woolley

Andrew WoolleyAndrew Woolley

Andrew is the owner and managing partner of Woolley & Co. He regularly offers comments and views on a range of family law issues.

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