Divorce can be an extremely difficult process, even for men. In fact, many men go through a wide range of emotions when it comes to divorce. As we all know, emotions can sometimes cloud a person’s judgment, which can result in that person doing something that might not be in her or his best interest. While stereotypically men are supposed to be less invested in divorce than women, that simply is not the case. Men share the difficulties of divorce evenly and have many of the same experiences as their female counterparts. Often, those experiences lead men to make some common mistakes during the Florida divorce process. The following information, adapted from an article from AskMen.com, can help you understand these common mistakes as well as how to avoid them. This is certainly not an exhaustive list, and we encourage anyone considering divorce to read this article’s counterpart, “Common Mistakes Women Make During Florida Divorce,” as divorce pitfalls do not always fall along arbitrary gender lines.
Underestimating Your Emotions
One of the most common mistakes men make early on in the Florida divorce process is underestimating their own emotions. They may feel as if some of the common emotions associated with divorce will not affect them, when in fact such emotions are generally inescapable. No matter how difficult your marriage has become, you are likely to experience frustration and sadness as you navigate the divorce process. This can be a result of disappointment in yourself because you think you could have done more to fix issues that arose or even because you may feel your actions led to the divorce. Whatever the reason, sadness is common. Thinking that you will be immune to it will only result in you being unprepared for how to handle such emotions when they do arise.
You also need to be aware that anger is common. In fact, it can all-too-often become the prevailing emotion in divorce. Being aware of it as well as what may trigger it in you can help you avoid anger and the pitfalls that come with it. Once you understand how you deal with anger, it will be easier for you to manage it throughout the divorce process. This will make the process easier on everyone, including children that may be affected by the divorce.
Not Working with an Experienced Attorney
Being convinced to not work with an attorney during your divorce is a critical mistake. While you may believe you and your spouse can communicate effectively and come to an acceptable divorce settlement, that is usually not the case. Not working with an attorney can result in important details being overlooked or in you potentially being manipulated by your spouse on a number of levels. The same goes for women who are considering going through the Florida divorce process without an attorney. Doing so is dangerous, even if you have a firm grasp on Florida divorce law.
Other men, and women, can fall victim to the misconception that you need a “shark” as a divorce attorney. The truth is that all Florida divorce attorneys must operate within the confines of Florida law governing divorce. While divorce is an adversarial process, working with an attorney that is overly-adversarial can actually make the process much more difficult. This means it will cost you more time and money in the long run because it may become difficult to reach a settlement working with this type of lawyer. An experienced Florida divorce attorney will help you understand your options in a realistic manner, even if it is not always what you want to hear. Divorce is a real and delicate process, and your attorney’s approach to it should be, too.
Using Children as Pawns
Divorce is an extremely difficult process for adults, so just imagine how difficult it is for your children. Too often, children can become bargaining chips or pawns during the divorce process. Nothing could be more unfair to your children. Your children deserve a relationship with both parents, regardless of the shape that relationship may take with custody orders and other aspects of divorce. Using your children as pawns risks damaging their relationship with their other parent but could also risk damaging their relationship with you. If you feel as if the children’s other parent is engaging in this type of behavior, do not respond to it the same way. Doing so will only exasperate the situation and have a further negative impact on your children.
Ultimately, your children will come to resent being used as pawns during the divorce and it will be difficult to repair this type of damaged relationship.
Becoming too Aggressive or too Passive
A lot of men find themselves going to one extreme or the other during divorce. They become either to aggressive or too passive. Being too aggressive typically results in increased conflict. Rubbing salt in the wound and adding insult to injury by exchanging verbal insults or engaging in unnecessary fights will not help anyone during a divorce. In fact, this type of behavior is likely to have a negative effect on everyone, especially the aggressor. While you should assert your rights and be cognizant of your emotions, there is no need to become overly aggressive.
Likewise, becoming too passive is often dangerous. This may start as soon as the decision to divorce is made when a wife asks the husband to leave the marital home during the divorce process. This automatically means you are doubling your family’s expenses because you will now need to keep two residences up and running, but if there are children involved, then it also means you will have less time to spend with them no matter what type of temporary custody arrangement is promised or worked out. Unless you find it necessary, you should try to stay in your family home when possible. This passiveness can show up in other areas of the divorce, too. You may end up acquiescing to every request or even agreeing to a settlement arrangement that is not in your best interests. Striking a healthy emotional balance between these two emotions and others you encounter during divorce is key to successfully navigating the divorce process.
Failure to Plan
While not everyone will make the above mistakes and while there are many more that can be made not listed above, one of the most critical and debilitating mistakes men often make during the divorce process is failing to be prepared. As with any of the items above, preparation is key in anticipating and dealing with the many challenges divorce will present you with. Failing to be prepared can lead to oversights in finances that have negative consequences for you, failure to exercise your rights, a weaker relationship with your children, as well as many other poor outcomes. Working with an experienced Florida divorce attorney can help you make sure you are prepared for what divorce will bring and how that might affect you. Contact Scott J. Stadler to schedule a consultation where you can find out more information about the Florida divorce process as well as how it could affect you and your family.