Divorce, no matter how smooth or difficult the process might be, it is a major change for everyone involved, and as such, it is an unknown situation with unknown outcomes. So, don’t be afraid to ask for help and guidance. Here are some of the most important things you should know about how to make the divorce as unproblematic as possible.
Understand what it means for the children
It is easy to get tangled up in the bitterness about the approaching divorce. Nothing to be ashamed of if you find yourself focused on your own feelings and worries. You’re also going through a change that you weren’t prepared for, weren’t planning on some years ago when you said your “I do”.
Yet, your children are even less prepared for it. No matter how many signs there could have been along the way, almost all children still never expect their parents to split, even when they are already in their teens. This is why it will be your responsibility as their father to learn about what the divorce means for them, and to respect their pain.
You can begin by doing some research online about what the children of divorcing parents are going through. But, it might be an even better idea to talk to a psychologist about what your children will experience, how it will affect them, how they might react, and how to make the process as smooth as possible. In all cases, you need to talk to your children, learn how to get into their shoes and try to help them resolve their doubts and fears.
Practice restraint and kindness
Yes, there are not-so-ugly divorces. Some even speak of friendly and cheerful separations. Yet, for the majority of divorcing fathers, it is a period in which the ugliest and the nastiest come to the surface, both from you and your ex-wife. It can even start resembling a war, with the sides resorting to any means necessary.
Under those circumstances, one can easily get dragged into resentment, anger, hostility, and aggression. Yet, for men with children, letting your anger go loose is not a good idea, as you’re not hurting only your wife and yourself, but also very much your children. Therefore, find a way to get in touch with your best self, and practice kindness, gentleness, and tolerance. Only in such situation will you truly help your kids adapt to the change and maintain the relationship with both of their parents.
Know your rights and obligations
Getting a divorce often means that you will now not only have your separate household to care about but also that you will have to think about alimony and child support now. The rules regarding these aspects of a divorce can be quite intricate. Then there’s the specific agreement you might have made with your ex-wife. For it all to go painlessly, you should get informed about all your obligations and possible consequences of not obeying the court’s decision.
Furthermore, if you get joint custody, it also comes with a set of both rights and obligations. And it can be quite difficult to handle. This is why you should know all about the logistics of joint custody, your children’s wishes, and your responsibilities. And most importantly, even in the most civil post-divorce relationships, joint custody can cause friction. Be sure you’re on the same page with your ex on all major aspects of how it is going to work.
Be mindful about dating
Finally, now a single man again, you will probably start thinking about dating again soon, if you haven’t already. Yet, as a father, you need to consider how this will affect your children as well. You deserve to regain your personal life, that is certain, but be sure to talk to your children about it before you embark on that path. Because you never know where the next big romance can come out of, and your children need to be prepared for another change when and if it comes.
Divorce is different for everyone. But even when it is the beginning of a new refreshed life, for men with children it is never a clean cut. Regardless of your relationship with your ex-wife, the children will always be your children, and you need to find the right path for your family, one that works for all of you the best.