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A man's guide to divorce - Guides For Divorce Series

Author: Louis Cobden

A man's guide to divorce - Guides For Divorce Series

Book Series: Guides For Divorce

  1. Introduction

Divorce is usually a tough and lopsided decision that often hits the husband off guard in most cases. In fact, men are often left to deal with the mind-blowing eventualities following the wife’s decision to leave the marriage and file for a divorce. It is a fact that most women globally initiate divorce. Such rejection can greatly destabilize a man and dent his ego leading to varying negative effects.

Matrimonial disputes are indeed messy and very few manage to agree on a mutual understanding to dissolve the marriage. This guide provides essential advice and information from a father and man’s point of view to help men get through the messy affair that is divorce. It is quite unfortunate how most documentation on divorces, are written with women in mind, hence leaving men to deal with the situation alone.

As much as divorce hurts, it would be in a man’s best interest to remain focused and say less than more especially if there are children involved. Even after the wife breaks the saddening news, the two parties will still have to meet several times thereafter. So how should men cope with the emotional components of a divorce?

  1. How to Handle the Emotional Aspects of Going through a Divorce

When men let their emotions get in the way of their judgments, the eventualities that follow usually don’t work in their favor. It is important to remember that divorce is a legal process and anything you say or do can or will be used against you should the matter go to court. There is therefore no room for negativity during the divorce process and men going through the messy affair should begin by learning how to deal with their emotions in a way that doesn’t affect their legal issues.

In most cases, men and fathers going through divorce often let their fear or anger guide them. Several questions and varied emotions go through the husband’s head such as; whether he will see the kids again? How will the kids cope without a father around every day? What happens to little Troy? And so on. When such emotions take over, the man is at risk of either making poor decisions or depression which can interfere with his functionality in day to day activities. In fact, this problem also deters men from moving on and finding a spouse that complements him. Remember that one should be at his best frame of mind especially when fighting for divorce rights.

The best thing a man can do during the period of divorce is to try and stay as stress-free as possible and relax as the chips fall into place. There are several ways that one can deal with the negative emotions derived from going through a messy divorce. To begin with, one should never bury his emotions or deny his feelings. Rather, it is advisable to work through them by talking to someone. Finding a local therapist or support group to vent out issues can go a long way in dealing with emotional stress.

Another approach that men can adopt to relieve off emotional stress during the divorce period is to work out as much as possible and stay active. Various researches have shown that physical activity not only helps one to relive anxiety, tension and anger, but also clears off the mind in a positive way. Routine exercises and regular visits to the gym are therefore good for men going through divorce. Besides, one will need to look good if there is any hope of attracting another spouse, right?

One big mistake that men do when undergoing divorce is not learning how to let go of problems beyond their control. Instead of staying focused on what is within their control, they place emphasis over the spilt milk that cannot be used. Those going through a nasty divorce are better off doing activities that will nurture them emotionally and physically as stated above. When idle, one can develop new hobbies or nurture the innate skills within. This is the time to read books, travel to new destinations, surround himself with positive characters and eat healthy. To deter the ego from getting bruised, a man should try as much as possible to lead a positive lifestyle that promotes feelings of self-worth.

When growing up, most men are taught to bottle up their emotions and handle them as a man. Should the standard of manhood dwell on one’s ability to hide their emotions? The answer is a big NO. These emotions pile up and just like a bubble, they will eventually burst. When this happens, lots of negative behaviors are adopted mainly drug abuse or even thoughts of revenge. As a man going through divorce, one should allow their emotions to surface but not get the best of them. Note that the emotions inside play quite a large role in defining the lifestyle one leads and whether or not he will successfully come out of the rut that is divorce.

A man going through a nasty divorce should lower his expectations in regards to what the outcome should be. This is because a divorce involves two parties and one never knows exactly what the other party is thinking or cooking behind the scenes. Absolutely no one has any control over the actions, or feelings of another and men usually have this notion that they are in control of every single thing even in marriage. With a divorce looming, all control over the spouse is lost and therefore any action taken from there on will be beyond his power. Any misplaced expectations on the other partner’s behavior or action should therefore be kept at bay.

Finally, men coping with the emotional aspects of divorce should realize that making hasty decisions does not help in any way. Regardless of whether one is going through a divorce or death of a beloved, decisions made through highly stressful situations should be carefully thought through and deliberated upon. One is advised to take time in thinking through the consequences of the actions he is about to take, besides thoroughly weighing all his options.

  1. How to Navigate Through the Legal Procedure of Divorce

What’s next once the matters of the heart are dealt with? Finding a good divorce attorney of course should be the next step. Most men work tirelessly for most part of their lives so as to protect and provide for their families. However when divorce comes knocking, the majority of them want the process to be as quick and painless as possible which leads to loss of property and wealth which they have strived for. A man going through divorce has everything to fight for and a lot to protect considering the estate in dispute is in most cases his. Finding the best divorce attorney with impeccable negotiating skills is therefore the paramount factor to consider.

However, before litigating any divorce related matter, it is always advisable to seek an out of court agreement regarding the matrimonial setting. The man should take charge, place the cards on the table and iron out the factors to be placed for consideration. To be on the safe side, this can be done in the presence of a divorce attorney. As the bread winner in most settings, the man should focus on the marital assets alongside maintenance costs mainly alimony. One can categorize the assets into three main categories: the must have assets, those he’d like to own but does not really need, and those that he can comfortably do without. This can be quite hard and challenging considering the painful emotions involved but it has to be done away with.

To handle this, one is advised to seek the opinion of a third party who can be a close friend or colleague, so as to help separate the emotions from the reality hence equitable distribution of the assets. If there are kids involved as it is in most cases, both parties can choose to sit down and also arrange the looming eventualities such as visitation and child support. When all litigations are agreed upon by both parties, this is usually referred to as an uncontested divorce but this is rare. Basically, if saving money on legal fees, staying out of court and co-parenting works to the husband’s advantage, then this is the best option to explore.

Most divorces are however not that easy and more often than not, they tend to get messy with long court battles becoming the order of the day. When both parties fail to agree on the basic issues pinned to the divorce, these issues will then have to be litigated in court. The common issues that are battled over, in matrimonial settings range from visitation rights of the kids, to child support obligations; which are factors that mostly affect the men. It would then be in every man’s interest facing divorce to seek the services of a qualified and experienced divorce attorney.

The sheer number of divorce attorney’s currently is indeed overwhelming and choosing one that complements the situation can be quite challenging. There are those that thrive by manipulating the affected emotions of the litigant so as to benefit from a fat payday at the end of it all. Such attorneys will even do everything in their strength to keep the cases running in court to pile up the bill. With men being the litigants with everything to fight for, this can be a problem. One should therefore follow a few guidelines before putting pen to paper and contracting any divorce attorney.

First and foremost, the husband facing divorce should hire a lawyer who primarily practices divorce law and has a great wealth of experience in the field. Basically, an experienced divorce attorney who has handled numerous cases should know the judges within the subject’s jurisdiction and what to expect from them. This can be used to the litigant’s advantage if the attorney is well established in his/her field. However, one should also consider the costs and attorney fees involved lest there be nothing to distribute at the end of it all. Remember that these attorneys do not come cheap and any party willing to move to court should indeed be prepared.

Being comfortable with the attorney is also key and it will go a long way in making the divorce a less daunting and short affair. There should be good rapport between the litigant (the divorced man) and the attorney for it to work seamlessly. No man wants to lose out on his kids’ future or assets and with this in mind, the case should never be entrusted to a person that does not derive the litigant’s confidence. One should look for an easy-to-talk to attorney who is accessible and within reach at all times. Most studies have found that lack of communication between the litigant and attorney is the main reason why most clients remain unhappy with the outcomes.

The negotiating skills of an attorney should be impeccable if the man is to have his fair share of rights especially in regards to child custody which tends to bring out the beast in women. Children need both parents in their lives and any good attorney who knows this, will work at safe guarding the children’s best interest. If there were children involved, the man should look for a lawyer who is more child-focused so as to initiate an agreement that enhances peaceful relationship. In most divorce cases, the women who initiated the divorce in the first place, deter their exes from seeing their children which is out right wrong and misplaced. This therefore prompts the depleted man going through divorce to go out and seek the best divorce attorney there is, if his children’s future means anything to him.

Any man seeking a divorce lawyer should ask the firm several questions regarding the case if he stands a chance to win. Finding answers to essential queries such as the attorney’s experience in child support or business valuation, the lawyer’s workload and accessibility and whether any other person will be involved in the case, will indeed provide peace of mind.

  1. How to Protect the Children’s Custody Rights and Fatherhood

As stated above, Family Courts can be really biased in favor of the wife. Therefore, a man going through a divorce must be ready mentally to battle for his kids by all means possible. Fatherhood is indeed forever and for him to gain at least 50/50 custody; he will have to prove to the court just how much he loves his kids. There is a reason why such cases are referred to as custody battles and this is because the process is quite fiery. A lot of ammunition is required and the attorney involved will need to have as much evidence as possible to show the man’s devotion to his kids.

There are several ways that one can show how great of a dad he is. Keeping a journal of the time spent with the kids is a great place to start. One can document the activities and fun time shared between the kids and dad. Also, the father may go the extra mile by taking a six week parenting class regardless of how good a parent he was. This projects devotion to being the best parent hence increasing his chances significantly in the custody battle.

It is imperative to realize that even though there is a looming divorce, the man need not be a visitor in his child’s life. Parenting plans can be well arranged to detail before any litigation procedure and this is always the best path to follow if possible. Children are quite sensitive and making them have to choose or go through tedious court battles can greatly affect their well-being. If the child’s well-being is therefore anything to go by, both parties will have to cooperate and come up with a plan that facilitates equal parenting.

According to various researches and studies, there are a number of reasons why equal parenting after going through a divorce is in the child’s best interest. First of all, children who get raised without the father around are at greater risk of alcohol and drug abuse, teen pregnancy, mental illness and poor performance in school according to a survey on Child Health in 1993. A more detailed survey goes on to reveal that fatherless children are more likely to abuse marijuana and alcohol at an earlier age compared to those raised by both parents.

Another study carried out on 156 victims of child sexual abuse revealed that most of these children came from fatherless backgrounds. A survey carried out between 1989 and 1990 indicated that states favoring joint custody showed a significant decrease in divorce rates, compared to states where joint physical custody is rare. In short, there are a lot of damaging effects brought about by father absenteeism and both the parents and family court system should give the father equal recognition to that of the mother lest the children continue to suffer.

Custody issues remain the major cause of litigation during divorce and it is imperative for the man to be aware of the varying types of custody. There are three main types of custody which include physical or joint custody, legal custody, and a variation on one or the other. The custodial rights decision is initially left for both parents to decide but in situations where there is lack of mutual understanding, then it will be up to the court to make an informed decision on how to split the custody.

When either parent has legal custody, it basically means that, that parent wields the right to make any decision pertaining the child’s needs. These needs will include healthcare, religion and education among others but they will have to be made in consultation with the other party. Many family court systems however choose to award joint legal custody where both parents retain their legal rights and equal say, in the decision making of the child’s wellbeing.

In physical custody, the child gets to live with one parent while the other is offered visitation rights. However, in cases where the child splits his/her time equally between both parents, the state may opt to award joint physical custody. This allows both parents to spend equal amounts of time with the child. For a man going through a painful divorce, this can be quite beneficial in the sense that he will continue having ample time with his child hence peace of mind.

The sole custody is the most gruesome and soul bruising of all. A parent may either be awarded sole physical custody or sole legal custody and in some cases, both. However, the family court system rarely awards this option unless a parent is deemed unfit to play any parenting role. In sole physical custody, the non-custodial party still gets to enjoy ample visitation time and equally contribute in decision making regarding the child’s needs.

Most states however opt to award joint custody where both parents share equal parenting rights. It may however be awarded in form of joint physical custody or joint legal custody or both. It is imperative for men going through divorce to ensure that they maintain custodial rights over their children. Note that custodial language and laws significantly vary from one state to the next and men especially getting divorced should widely research on the relevant state laws pertaining to custodial rights so as to have a clue on what to expect.

  1. Understanding the Division of Marital Property

The division of marital assets can be quite complicated and lengthy depending on the respective state divorce laws. In most divorce battles, the matter often proceeds to court whereby the court begins by determining whether the property is marital or non-marital.

Once the court determines how the marital assets will be divided as per the state laws, four main issues will be considered.

Depending on the state, division of the marital assets will either be governed by no-fault divorce laws or penalization depending on the grounds of divorce. In the latter, financial misconduct is penalized during division of these assets. For instance, if the man was engaged in an affair and spent money foolishly on the other woman, then he will be penalized during division of marital assets and vice-versa.

Men indeed struggle most of their lives to provide for their family only for their hard-earned money or assets to be split during divorce initiated by the wife. This however can be avoided by simply separating any joint financial obligations before embarking on the divorce procedure. Division of marital assets is quite broad and involves splitting of every little item ranging from household furniture to joint credit accounts.

It is therefore of paramount importance to move with speed and set up separate accounts.

For it to be quick and swift, one should consider the following:

Generally, there are two legal schools of thoughts governing the division of marital assets that vary from state to state. They consist of equitable distribution and community property. In the former which is more common, the court mainly considers the financial situation of both spouses rather than a 50/50 split of the assets. Even though it may seem more flexible, it is quite hard to forecast the outcome owed to the numerous factors placed for consideration.

The main factors that are considered during equitable distribution may consist of the following:

It is however paramount for every man going through a divorce to know that the court has no jurisdiction over non-marital property. So, the main question therefore is, how does the court determine whether the assets involved are marital property or non-marital? Well, there are several guidelines used by the court to determine this. First and foremost, any property acquired before the marriage by either spouse is regarded to as non-marital property. This therefore means that all assets procured after the marriage is considered marital property. This property will therefore be equitably split between both spouses as enforced by the family court system.

However, property acquired after marriage can be considered as non-marital only if:

Even though the guidelines put in place are indeed very detailed, some situations may prove to be complicated. For instance, a spouse may acquire property during the marriage using inheritance proceeds. Or when finances from non-marital assets find their way into a joint account during the marriage.

Such situations are determined by the court which has the final word on the distribution of property. In most divorce battles regarding property distribution, the men are usually the ones in the tight corner. It is therefore mandatory for him to have a well-read divorce attorney who is familiar with the respective state laws governing marital property distribution.

  1. Mistakes Men Should Avoid During Divorce

Going by the facts within this guide, divorces can indeed get quite messy. Men particularly, are known to make numerous mistakes during the young stages of the divorce process hence losing out on a lot. It is in human nature to make mistakes especially when one is worked up and during divorce it’s tough to think straight as a man. There is a lot of anger, anxiety and tension that could lead to regrettable actions or rhetoric being used. It is such behavior that makes the divorce process more painful, stressful, costly and lengthy. However, all these battles can be avoided by knowing what to avoid as a man and father going through divorce.

The other person in the picture – men are known to move on quite fast compared to women and during the divorce period, the man can get acquainted to a potential spouse. As it is, the divorce process is already volatile and all it may take for it to become a highly contentious issue is the mention of a new found lover during one of the meetings. Even if the woman initiated the divorce, it would be in the man’s best interest not to mention any new relationship to the ex and child until the process is done away with lest he become the topic of conversation during litigation.

Avoiding retaliation – often, custodial parents who mainly comprise of women, feel the need to issue threats so as to gain financial support from their exes. The woman may threaten to deny visitation rights to the ex-husband and this can be indeed very terrifying to any father who deeply loves his child. However, as painful as these threats may be, it is advisable not to respond or issue retaliating threats. Instead, follow due procedure and move to court to solve the matter amicably. In short, retaliating to anger with greater anger will only end up in an all-out war that will affect the kids as well.

Getting served – if the man decides to initiate the divorce, then there are better ways to serve her with the paperwork rather than sending over an officer of the law at her work place. In short, men should avoid embarrassing their spouses especially during this emotional period to avoid even greater conflict.

Negotiate before you litigate – arguments on custodial rights or marital property will always arise in divorce, but this should not stop negotiations from taking place between both parties. The main goal is to basically avoid a court battle as much as possible for the sake of the kids and the hefty costs that come with the process. No matter how much both parties despise each other, they are better off trying to come to an agreement or settlement rather than litigation which is the only other option.

The power of attorney – during negotiations, the wife may choose to hire an attorney and if this is the case, so should the man and fast. Men often fall victim by getting convinced by their spouses to let one attorney (their lawyer of course) to handle the process and represent both parties so as to save money and time. This is a hoax and a common tactic used by one spouse to gain from the distribution process. Obviously, there is conflict of interest, and there is no way that one lawyer can fairly represent both parties. The procedure is meant to be adversarial and if the man lacks an attorney then he will be an amateur in the midst of professionals and stands no chance.

Avoiding lawyer manipulation – as much as having an attorney is beneficial, one should take time in finding the right one. Divorce attorneys are known to turn divorces into nightmares through manipulation of the vulnerable souls undergoing divorce. These rogue lawyers will cleverly pretend to be ruthless and aggressive hence making it an all-out battle. Difficult divorce lawyers are always after elongating the process to their financial advantage. The eventualities that follow include huge fights over every other small thing and sleepless nights.

Avoiding spouse manipulation – when she announces that she wants a divorce, most men become acquiescent and this indeed costs them a fortune only to realize much later what happened. People can be really manipulative especially during situations where vulnerability is projected. Men should never allow themselves to be manipulated into parting with money, custody or assets during this period when they are broken, saddened and stunned. A vulnerable person will always agree to anything and men going through this rough patch should wait until the shock wears off before making any decision.

The financial victim – one of the most common and biggest mistakes made by men during divorce is staying in the dark about the finances. It is normal for most women to handle the finances and related decisions during marriage and if this is the case, then she will have an advantage during settlement. It is always unfortunate when the man cannot account for the debts or assets within the family. If a man suspects that the wife is planning to divorce, then he should move fast and acquire any relevant information regarding the other spouse’s assets and income. He should strive to get all paperwork and financial records such as tax returns or account statements. One may consider hiring forensic financial experts to help locate and value hidden assets. Remember that the more documentation one has, then the easier it will be to settle.

Establishing a post-divorce financial plan – two households will of course cost more to run compared to one. Many men fail to realize that divorce settlements last over extended periods of time and even maybe for the rest of their lives. When this happens, they fail to understand that a change in lifestyle is inevitable and that realistic expectations have to be met. Establishing a sound post-divorce financial plan will come in handy during the transition from marriage to singlehood.

  1. Understanding Alimony

Alimony can be otherwise referred to as maintenance or spousal support. Basically it is the amount of money paid by one spouse to support the other after the divorce process. In essence, alimony was designed to initially help the lower-earning spouse who quit her job to make the house a home and raise the children, to transition into being self-sufficient. The termination date of alimony or maintenance payments will vary depending on the laws governing the subject’s jurisdiction among other factors. However, spouses undergoing divorce are both employed and their income levels are in the same range will not be required to pay alimony to either party.

Alimony payments may be limited to a specific period of time as agreed upon by both parties or as per the court’s orders. However, some states like Texas have laws in place that limit these alimony payments to a certain period of time. Other states will for instance require the man to pay the alimony after divorce until the wife receiving it begins to live with another partner. Most cases though, will include the termination date of the alimony in the settlement or judgment once the divorce proceedings come to an end.

There are two main categories of spousal support: long-term spousal support and short-term spousal support. Most states however do not have detailed guidelines for the support duration like Texas and Indiana do; where alimony payments are limited to three years only, except in special circumstances which are identified by the judge. Others like Utah require that the duration of alimony should not surpass the marriage’s duration, while others will require the couple to have stayed for at least ten years together for alimony to be awarded.

It is possible for a spouse to receive temporary support before the divorce is finalized and this can be categorized as a form of short-term support. The short-term maintenance can be done through mutual understanding immediately after separation so as to support the lower-earning party as the divorce carries on. However, it would be in the man’s interest to make sure that the agreement regarding the temporary support is in form of writing so as to avoid any future misunderstandings.

Rehabilitative support can also be categorized under short-term support, where the dependent spouse is re-trained so as to acquire marketable skills that will enable (her) to get re-employed. Rehabilitative support is also referred to as ‘bridge the gap support’ and it only lasts until the recipient is back in the workforce. There isn’t a specified date on when the payments should stop but once the supported spouse is employed, the payments should automatically cease.

On the flipside, the recipient is required to diligently pursue the training program, alongside looking for a job in equal zeal. In general, short term support is awarded to spouses who had a short marriage stint and it usually lasts only a few years tops. The judge sets a precise date on when the support should cease in the court order following the finalization of the legal divorce process.

Long-term or permanent support is mainly awarded to spouses who have been married for a long period of time exceeding ten years and are seeking to divorce. The judge however will only award permanent support if he/she concludes that the dependent is not fit enough to return to employment and will thus require indefinite support. Even though long-term spousal support is sometimes referred to as permanent support, it does eventually come to an end. The support automatically ceases when either party dies, when the recipient remarries or when the recipients co-habits with another individual. Some states however do not allow permanent spousal maintenance.

Reimbursement support is known to be the only type of maintenance or spousal support that is not directly based on financial need. The support is meant to somehow compensate the spouse who sacrificed career or education advancement during the matrimony, so as to provide for the family while the other trained for a more lucrative career path. Basically, it was expected that once the latter spouse was established and earning a good salary, the spouse who sacrificed for the family’s sake would benefit from better living standards and freedom to pursue another career. If the marriage unfortunately ends before these benefits are enjoyed, then reimbursement support is awarded to level the playing field. Its termination is determined by the court mainly because it’s not pinned to need.

  1. How to Reduce or Modify Alimony

As stated earlier, the court order issued after the finalization of a divorce process, or marital agreement in most cases will likely entail spousal maintenance or alimony and related details ranging from the terms of payments, to the date when these payments are due and even how much exactly will be paid. Most of these orders go on to elaborate the specific conditions under which the alimony ceases. The termination of the support may be pinned to a specific event such as death, or remarriage of the recipient, or the court may specify the exact date when the alimony should cease.

However, the payer of support may seek to change or modify the alimony due to a number of valid reasons. The procedure of modifying alimony can be complicated and will require an experienced attorney who can justify the need for the alimony modifications. Note that some court orders and agreements may specify that the alimony payments cannot be changed under any circumstances. So, how can one reduce the alimony payments and what are the requirements?

A spouse seeking to modify or reduce alimony payments should embark on the process by first filing a request with the court. For it to be successful, the paying spouse should use an experienced attorney to prove why the reduction is justified and why changes to the support are necessary. Besides having a skilled attorney, the paying party should provide substantial evidence of changes in financial circumstances of either one or both parties, so as to convince the court to reduce, or even terminate the support payments all together.

The changes in the financial circumstances may include:

Once a request to change the support has been filed, the court will then require both spouses to conduct the “discovery” procedure. This basically requires both parties to submit relevant documentation regarding finances to the other so as to reveal the degree of ability to pay the alimony. It is however paramount to note that the changes in income should be significant for the modification request to be granted in court. The alimony will not be reduced based on minor adjustments to either party’s income levels.

  1. Alternatives to Divorce

Getting a divorce simply means that the marriage is legally over but are there any other alternatives that men can go for instead of the long and gruesome court battles that define most divorce battles? If a man is not ready for a permanent break from his spouse, then there is always the option of separation. Separation is indeed very different from a divorce and it basically means that the couple lives apart even though they are still legally married. It will however affect the financial aspect of the marriage in a number of ways. Just like a divorce, agreements on a number of issues will have to be sorted out and one may opt for a legal separation. The various types of separation include:

Trial separation- as the spouses get to deliberate upon whether or not to divorce, they may opt for a trial separation. Even though the same legal rules will still apply as it was in marriage, it would be in the man’s best interest to write an informal agreement on some vital issues. To begin with, one will have to decide how to budget the spending during the separation period, or even whether or not to continue sharing joint ventures such as accounts. Just like a divorce, both parties will also have to decide on how to split time or spend time with the kids.

Permanent separation – when spouses live apart from each other but aren’t divorced, they can be said to be permanently separated. In most states, permanent separation does change the property rights of the spouses significantly. If there is no intention of getting back together, then all assets and liabilities accrued during the separation period will only belong to the party involved. In permanent separation, one is no longer responsible for the other spouse’s debts, nor entitled to share property or income earned during this period. Due to the sheer fact that separation significantly affects financial aspects, the date of permanent separation can be fiercely contested if it gets to divorce. Men should avoid hooking up with the wife every once in a while for old time’s sake because that brief reconciliation period may change the separation date. This therefore means that the man risks becoming responsible for his wife’s financial actions during the period he thought he wasn’t. All said, a couple need not divorce once basic agreements on finances and custody are put in place.

Legal separation – not all states allow legal separation but in those that do, one can be legally separated from his spouse by filing a request in a family court. As much as it may sound like a divorce, legal separation is different from both marriage and divorce in that one is no longer married but cannot remarry again. However there are some familiar similarities between legal separation and divorce. The court order that grants the separation will entail orders on alimony, custody rights and property division just like a divorce. Many people that opt for legal separation because of various reasons ranging from religious beliefs to the intent of keeping the family together for the kid’s sake or even insurance. All in all, many couples have managed to stay legally separated for long periods of time.

Annulment – this is basically a legal procedure that cancels the marriage. When matrimony between a man and woman is annulled, it means that the marriage is completely erased as if it technically never existed legally. In a divorce, a valid marriage is ended and both parties are returned to singlehood with the freedom to remarry. Either spouse can initiate the annulment, but he will have to prove his grounds for making the sudden move before the court. If the grounds can be successfully proven, then the marriage is declared null and void by a family court of law.

So, what are the most common grounds that one can use to annul his marriage?

Generally, annulments are much easier to deal with than divorce and if a man has the grounds to file for one, then it is definitely worth a shot. However, annulment laws vary significantly from one state to the next and a person seeking to file for an annulment should widely research on the relevant set of laws within his jurisdiction.

  1. Life after Divorce – The Secret to Regaining Happiness

As explained throughout this guide, divorces can be really messy, emotionally draining and painful. Unlike women though, men do not express or let out these emotions and this can have numerous negative effects on the future ahead. True, the wife may not want to be in the marriage anymore for a number of reasons known or unknown to the husband, but this is certainly not the end of life. Regardless of the new situation, there are a plethora of choices that a man can make to start a new.

Dealing with betrayal, anger and generally the pain that emanates from getting divorced can be tough to do away with. There is no instant cure for pain and it something that will have to be worked on moving forward. Most divorcees make the common mistake of getting into a rebound relationship with the aim of healing, but this never works. For men dealing with divorce, this is the time to work on personal growth and getting back on track, bigger and better. It is paramount to note that the tough emotions and grief are necessary for healing, and bottling them up won’t be of much help.

In essence, the attitude that one seeks to adopt after the life-changing situation will indeed define the future ahead. There are five crucial aspects that men should consider for their own good, after going through a lengthy divorce that was defined by an all-out battle.

-The faster one reclaims happiness, the better of a parent he will be – kids are very intelligent than most parents figure them to be and true to this, they tend to pick up any negative emotions that the parent may be going through. To become a better parent and father, one has to work on stabilizing and regaining his happiness by venting out the negativity. There are several ways to achieve this and they include; joining support networks, indulging in physical activities and staying healthy among others.

-Sadness is not forever – most men who just divorced do not realize this but after a while, things are bound to get better. According to a number of studies and researches, most people dwell in a miserable marriage without their knowledge. Once these people divorce, they tend to be happier, more confident and aggressive in regards to their career. There will be dark and lonely days once in a while, but happy for the better part which should count for something.

-Happier with the ex – without realizing it, divorced couples tend to get along better afterwards especially if there were kids involved. There are no emotions tied to communication or battles emanating from every little decision made. It may not be perfect or rosy at the beginning but if enough effort is put in making it work for the kids’ sake then it will get better eventually. This helps a divorcee in moving on, becoming much happier and eventually leading a better lifestyle defined by success.

-Life is what you make of it – as the famous saying goes ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.’ Life is indeed what you make of it and whatever attitude you adopt will define your post-divorce era. In short, if you choose to wallow in the miasma of pain and grief, then that’s what you will get. Men are bound to face various hurdles and challenges in life and if a divorce is one of them, then one should strive to rise above it eventually. It is paramount to note that nobody else has the power to get you out of your depression other than yourself.

-Being happy about divorcing her, not the divorce – this is an aspect that men should learn to look at it from. In general, people aren’t happy about divorcing and this is what causes grief initially, but if one realizes that divorcing the unreasonable spouse is much better then he will be a lot happier. Living in an unhappy relationship is far much worse than being divorced, that’s just the long and short of it.

  1. Financial Life after Divorce

After long gruesome battles in court, newly divorced individuals should in every right be concerned about their finances. Besides making sure that they have enough to sustain them, the divorcees should also be worried about their future and retirement generally. Most divorce cases are lengthy and tend to carry on for more than a year until an agreement is reached. This can be emotionally and physically draining and one may be tempted to take a lengthy break from sorting out all the paperwork regarding finances. However, one should resist this urge and move with speed to accomplish the following factors below so as to protect his financial freedom.

Cancelling all joint accounts – this should be the first step even before the divorce is finalized. Open joint accounts serve as liabilities and eventually, they will come back to haunt you. The ex may knowingly run up massive charges on credit cards or bank overdrafts hence putting the other spouse in a tight corner. If there is an outstanding balance, one should instruct the bank to suspend the account to deter future charges from accruing.

Opening new accounts – after going through divorce settlements and alimony, one can be left broke or destabilized financially. It will therefore make sense for any man going through this to apply for new credit cards as he gets back on track. Even though credit cards aren’t the best option, they will help cover essential bills during these dark times.

Changing the beneficiaries – most men and divorcees generally tend to forget to take this crucial step once the process is finalized. Failure to change the beneficiaries, the ex may end getting all the assets and properties in case you pass away. The changing process isn’t as daunting or lengthy as most make it to be and usually, it takes just a single form and a pen to fill out.

Updating the information on insurance coverage – during divorce, lots of assets and property are split and distributed to the ex. The car, jewelry or painting listed on the insurance coverage therefore may no longer belong to the coverage owner. It would therefore be wise to update the information on the coverage lest you pay premium for assets you don’t own.

Opening a savings account – the change from marriage to singlehood can be quite scary mainly because one doesn’t have a spouse to depend on during rainy days. It is therefore wise as a newly single individual to have a financial safety net to secure the future. One should at least strive to have six months advance of living expenses in a bank account.

Insurance coverage – men in particular are often left vulnerable financially, after parting with numerous assets and money after the divorce settlement. In case one suffers a major setback, they have nobody to turn to and this can pose as a major hurdle. Having a safe landing in case of such occurrences after divorce would be therefor in any divorcee’s best interest. A good coverage that one may procure after getting divorced is the disability insurance coverage which will come in handy if he suffers from any long-term disability. As much as it may not be cheap, it will definitely offer peace of mind.

Sorting out credit scores – it is always advisable to keep in touch with credit scores more so those going through divorce or after divorce. A dented credit score may make things quite tough in regards to applying for loans or even getting a new job. One should therefore check for any errors in his credit score prior to sorting out any issue immediately.

Retitling assets – after a divorce, there are many assets that change possession. If the husband therefore owned a house in a trust with his wife, he will be better off retitling it to his name in person or better yet in the name of an exclusive trust newly created.

Updating the estate plan – after the major life-changing step that is divorce, there is no better time to update the estate plan. This will help secure the kid’s future in regards to healthcare and other relevant issues.

Re-analyzing investments – more often than not, husbands usually let their wife handle their finances and investments generally. He may therefore own assets or investments that he isn’t aware of or maybe that aren’t in his best interest financially. After the divorce is finalized, he should therefore carefully analyze every investment in his portfolio to identify those that are good for his future and those that aren’t. This can be done in conjunction with an investment advisor.

Establishing a financial strategy – this can be done single handedly using the available resources and documentation. Establishing a financial strategy will basically require the divorcee to draft a realistic budget that includes alimony, child support and any new expenses that may arise from being single. Remember to create a budget within your income source so as not to over-stretch.

Re-organizing the filing system – as a newly divorced individual, one is bound to have new insurance policies, accounts and other financial documents going by the information above. It would therefore serve as the perfect time to establish a new filing system after the divorce is finalized. This will help the divorced person to strategize and re-organize his life much faster.

Assembling a new financial team – most men often never establish a relationship with the accountant mainly due to their busy work schedule and therefore a task left to the wife. As an individual fresh from divorce, one should assemble a new financial team to help strategize sound estate plans and investments for future purposes.

The safe deposit box – most married couples share everything from ATM passwords to safety deposit box info. During and after divorce, a lot goes through one’s mind that essential issues such as the safety box are usually forgotten. It is paramount for a divorced man to immediately check his safety deposit box once the divorce is finalized, prior to getting a new one so as to secure the valuables inside.

Identity theft – this is a common occurrence after divorce, where essential financial documentations and information lands in the wrong hands and one’s identity is stolen. To avoid losing thousands or millions of dollars, one should invest in a shredder and destroy all relevant paperwork from the past such as credit cards among other items.

Erasing data – after divorce, most people tend to forget that they indeed shared a computer. One may have had valuable information or data stored inside and it is important to ensure that such data is erased to avoid future problems.

Creating copies of financial documentation – past taxes and debts can be frustrating, especially if they were joint liabilities. To avoid relying upon the ex in audits, it would be in his best interest to make numerous copies of relevant financial records for the purposes of IRS. Remember to include loan documents, tax returns, bank statements, check registers and investment reports among other documentation.

In conclusion to this, one should be more alert to his finances as a single man compared to when in marriage. Gather up as much information and money to help sort out the eventualities following a divorce such as moving and settling alimony. It is advisable to assemble a professional team to help in the strategy establishment and game plan for the future as a single man.

  1. Dating after Divorce

Bouncing back into the dating game after being to the altar once can be quite tricky. In fact, it will require a whole new shift in the mindset and ball game at that. Therefore, in order to achieve success after the emotionally draining divorce process as a man, one will have to follow a few steps. The transition may not be easy but it is eventually worth it.

Dating during the divorce or in the final stages of the process can have serious effects. It is never a good idea to date or get romantically involved with someone else until the arrangements and settlements are done away with. This basically prevents the man from having to explain himself in court, tainting his image over a fling and losses during the settlement stage of the divorce.

Getting back to the scene can be quite confusing at first, especially if the emotions derived from the divorce are still close to the heart. In order for a man to move on completely, he will have to tie up loose ends. This basically means moving out all his stuff from the matrimonial home and avoid confiding in the ex every now and then. Once the divorce paperwork is finalized, so should everything else especially if there were no kids involved. This helps in letting go and redefining one’s image as a newly single individual.

One should however avoid rushing into anything and take time to get things right the second time. To avoid future mistakes similar to those made in the past, one should give any new fling time to grow and nurture. A man should also stay away from women that remind him of his ex. This however does not mean that he should forget all the good times they shared together in the past.

Men are often pushed by their friends or colleagues into dating again after divorce. As much as it may sound nice, dating requires one to be in the right frame of mind. It should not only feel right to get into the dating game once again, but also feel right to date the first person you establish a rapport with. Dating for the sheer reason of revenging on the ex should be totally avoided as it is a big mistake. Even though dating again can be considered as vital in the healing process, going through emotional roller-coasters just isn’t fun at all.

Hitting the gym not only helps one vent out all the negative emotions piled up during the divorce process, but also helps the newly single man to get his muscles back in shape to attract potential spouses. Both men and women alike tend to let themselves go during marriage and this leads to several repulsive features to the opposite sex.

A single man should begin by getting rid of the huge belly if he indeed stands a chance in the highly competitive dating scene. One can even go the extra mile in hiring a stylist to work the magic in improving appearance.

In conclusion to this, one should;

  1. Summary

This guide has been designed to help out all men undergoing the stressful divorce period. Most documentation on divorce leans towards sorting out women’s issues, while leaving men with uncertainty on how to go about the divorce issue. Men should look at this period as a chance to explore new possibilities and ventures. This should be the time to expand and grow as a single person who is sailing in foreign waters but more experienced. According to various studies, exploring new interests can go a long way in getting rid of the grief and pain emanating from the divorce process.

All men divorcees should keep in mind that fatherhood is indeed forever even after finalization of the divorce process. Parenting through and after divorce is not easy and most tend to forget their roles once separated. This can potentially ruin the kids’ future and mess up their whole life. Regardless of whether one is divorced or not, one should always remain in constant touch with his children’s day to day happenings. Remember that divorce is between two spouses and not the kids. One should therefore avoid getting caught up in the moment and saying things that may leave a lasting effect on the kids.

Another factor to consider as a man going through divorce is that not everything said about divorce is true. Most people tend to offer misleading advice and information to divorcees who are vulnerable and will fall for anything. What happens to one couple during divorce need not necessarily happen to another. Every divorce emanates from varying issues and the only advice that a divorcing man should pick up is the one from his attorney, financial team and doctor, period!

During the rough divorce period, it is tempting for a man to make life changing decisions without necessarily thinking them through and the impact they will have. For instance, one may hurriedly decide to sell the house just to get the process over and done with. This can create future problems and it is best to resist the impulse of making hurried decisions and knee-jerk reactions in general.

The court is not always the best solution neither the best place to be. This path is not only costly, but lengthy and emotionally draining. During the divorce, the man should wear his pants, step up to the occasion and negotiate without letting his emotions get the best of him. In fact, one should seek other alternatives to the family court systems that are in fact biased in favor of women. One way of facilitating healthy negotiations is through seeking a neutral third party who can act as the mediator in the process. Also, one should keep in mind that the tone used at the beginning of the case and the actions during this period will ultimately dictate how the divorce process will play out. During the heated moment, a divorce can easily blow out of proportion and turn into an all-out war that seems far from ending.

There are numerous advantages to a collaborative divorce. To begin with, they enable the divorcing couple to come up with their own decisions on post-divorce decisions and settlements. This generally includes mutual agreement on parenting and custodial rights, and splitting of marital assets.

In collaborative divorce, both parties agree to resolve the matter without having to step in court. This is not to say that divorce attorneys shouldn’t be used during the mediation or negotiation process. Lawyers are indeed a valuable resource especially in regards to consultations. Each spouse can have a separate attorney to advise them on a host of issues regarding the matter. It is important to widely consult with one especially during the mediation process so as to guide both parties on the way forward and help them identify contentious issues such as matrimonial properties. The lawyers can also be used to review and draft the final settlement paperwork once the mediation process is over.

However, collaborative divorce sometimes just doesn’t work hence making court proceedings inevitable. If this is the case, both spouses should remain honest with each other so as finalize the matter as fast as possible. One should also stay as honest as possible with his attorney and provide all relevant information and facts regarding the marriage. This not only helps the attorney analyze the case much better, but also goes a long way in finalizing the process as quickly as possible.

In conclusion, a man should never set unreasonable goals or expectations while going through the divorce process. Most of these expectations tend to be inconsistent with the law and they may lead to unforeseen eventualities especially during the final ruling.

All said, a person going through a messy divorce is better off learning the ropes and the laws within his jurisdiction prior to setting reasonable expectations based on valid information. It would be in his best interest to research widely on these laws and how they apply to the present situation. As much as divorce is dreaded world over, it should be taken positively as a learning experience and help those going through it to emerge as better individuals and parents in future.