Monthly Archives: October 2015

Mistakes Men Should Avoid After Divorce

Accepting life after your divorce is hard on everyone involved.  Even under the best of conditions men have a difficult time adjusting to single life after being married.  Make it easier on yourself, your ex and your children by avoiding these common mistakes that are most often made following a divorce.

Dating Too Soon: To many men think that jumping back into the dating game right away is a sure way to get over their ex and begin moving on with their lives.  This is far from reality. In fact dating before the dust settles on your divorce can hinder your new relationship as well as the relationship you share with your children and ex.

Just because you are feeling alone, exposed and distressed doesn’t mean you should seek out a female companion to fill the void.  Instead begin to date casually.  Don’t take on a relationship until you have figured out life as a newly divorced man.  This can take up to two years to officially happen.  Slow down your dating game and explain to anyone you are interested in dating that you have been through a tough divorce and are not ready for a committed relationship.  Recognize that the time is not right for a relationship that constrains you in anyway.

Isolating Themselves: After a divorce it is easy for men to become cut off from the rest of the world.  This is especially true when a woman gets full custody of their children.  This alone can worsen any feelings of guilt, depression and lonesomeness that is felt.  In factdivorced men are more likely to experience suicide and alcoholism.

Instead of turning to drinking and thoughts of hurting yourself turn to old friends or family members.  Join a health club, join a softball team or join a professional association through work.  All of these activities will help you avoid the feeling of despair that can be felt by men experiencing divorce.

Giving In To Hostility:  Another common mistake that men give into is the hostility they are feeling towards their ex.  Don’t continue to fight with your ex especially when children are involved.  Don’t be the enemy.  When you are co-parenting it is easy to be at odds with your ex.  You may not always get your way on how to parent your children.  Learn to take this all in stride.  Take time to manage your feelings; there needs to be a middle ground when situations arise that you go to in order to seek a mutual resolution.

Don’t yield too much of yourself or your role as a parent to your ex.  If you are willing to put in the work you will see the results in the relationship you share with your children and ex.

Longton DM, a subsidiary of Longton Law Offices is a divorce attorney specializing in Men/Dad’s in divorce.  For experienced representation throughout the divorce process in Trenton, Michigan and the surrounding area you can find more information athttp://www.michigandivorcelawyerfordad.com.

When Will I Get Over My Divorce?

This is really a continuation of my rant that began here: Money is a Bitch After Divorce

As rants go, I think mine a pretty tame. It’s not because I don’t have access to my anger and vitriol. It’s more because I’ve been tempering my temper for so long, I’ve sort of internalized a lot of the anger. Maybe that’s what’s making me fat again. Or maybe it’s the stress of working a job and getting less than 50% of my take home pay. (Wait, I thought there was a clause in my decree that… Oh wait, with two kids they can take up to 60% of your take home pay.)

Money

When you have kids together you enter a pact. For better or for worse you are going to do whatever it takes to make their lives easier. In our case we agreed to split the chores of parenting 50/50 (as much as that is possible). And we agreed that I would continue to work full-time while she took the time she needed to parent, nurture, and do the mom-thing. It was how we saw the world together as parents. Or should I say, as married parents.

Divorce changes everything. And what I thought were immutable agreements were immediately called into question. In our case the idea of a 50/50 divorce was tossed out the window like a novel idea. Perhaps back in 2010 it was. And in the process, I agreed to a non-custodial, SPO (standard possession order), child support package. The problem was, my job had just ended, and while I was in some late stage negotiations with a company, after the decree was filed, the job fell through. So we calculated my child support amount on the potential job that fell through. It actually took me an additional four months to find full employment. And for each of those months I was still on the hook for the full amount.

And over the last five years, I’ve had various employment statuses. It’s sort of the nature of this unstable employment market. But the amount of child support I agreed to, back when I was blinded by the sadness of the proceedings and wanting to find the path of least resistance to get out, stayed the same. Today I still end up paying my ex-wife on behalf of my kids, about 2,300 a month. (1,200 in child support, 1,100 in health insurance) To be fair that insurance money doesn’t go to her, but the number represents my contractual obligation and my current employer does not provide insurance. Here’s how that works out in real dollars earned.

So let’s see, I need a $36,000 per-year pay check just to pay my child support and insurance? (I pay the taxes on the money before I pay her. And I don’t get a deduction.) That’s a lot of work. And if I want to provide for any kind of shelter or amenities for myself and my kids when they are with me… Well, obviously I’ve got to work a lot harder.

 

And this sucks. I understand the idea behind it. And I also understand that I have to lawyer up to make a change to this amount. So, at this point, I’ve chosen to let the decree and this financial obligation to remain. “It’s for my kids,” I say to myself when I receive my portion of my salary.

When am I going to be over my divorce? Um, in about 5+ more years, when my second child turns 18.

Time

For this imbalance in money obligations I also get an imbalance in time with my kids. And if I try and see this as a benefit I can understand how dads began to get the reputation for being uncaring and stoic. I’ve had to stoic-up a bunch to make it though the extended weeks without my kids. And some weeks are better than others. Some weeks I can even imagine that I’m paying my ex-wife for services rendered as a child care provider. That’s funny for a minute. And then the next emaciated paycheck arrives.

Time with my kids is the main loss of the divorce. As they both enter the teens I see their attention moving towards friends and dates and sleep overs. The real time lost was when they were 7 and 9. Those were the years when they could’ve (I could’ve) used more closeness, more masculine nurturing, more dad. But that’s not how it worked out. And today, I’m resolved that I’m doing the best I can with the time I do have. Again, that’s the decree, that’s the way the State of Texas tends to divide the baby, so to speak. Moms are the nurturers and dads are the bread winners. I hope this continues to be challenged as a hurtful stereotype that does an in justice to the dads and the kids.

Anger

I think the real measure of being “over it” for me is how much anger I still have towards my ex-wife.

Today: not much.

Tomorrow: who knows, but she still pulls dramatic somersaults that can trigger me, so I’m not done.

I think for me, getting over the injustice of the divorce system and the divorce decree I signed was the biggest part. Well, okay, getting over her turning our affairs in to the AG’s office for collections was pretty bad too. (She knew I was unemployed and trying to save my house, but oh well…) Yep, I even have to get over that past “fk you” to move on with my life.

Do I get to leave it all behind like I did with my first crazy wife? No. With my kids involved my ex-wife is part of my life for the duration. Yes, I’ve heard of people truly walking away after their kids leave for college, but I’m pretty sure in this economy we’ll be dealing with each other and negotiating about money for a lot longer.

 

I smile at the thought that our negotiations about money might move to a more equitable and fair percentage. And I wish there were some way for me to share with my ex-wife the feeling of futility and hopelessness that comes from landing a new job and learning that even with this new title, new salary, and new health benefits, I can’t afford an apartment or get a loan for a used car. Oh, but that has a lot to do with the AG’s office.

Am I still mad at my ex-wife?

Most of the time no. On payday, just a tiny bit. On some dramatic outburst about something, a bit more. On the AG’s office, well yes, that one I may not ever be able to forgive her for.

But I don’t let those feelings color my life much. They are still there, under the surface, if I’m honest with myself. But the degree to which the “divorce” stuff bothers me is very slight indeed. And for me that’s the main thing. Can I maintain a civil relationship with the mother of my children? And can I see the bright eyes and hearts of my kids as the indication of a job well done?

To those questions I must answer a resounding YES.

Original Source: http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/when-will-i-get-over-my-divorce-jmac/