Over the 20-plus years that I have been handling divorces for men and fathers in New Jersey, I have seen some of them make pointless mistakes that get in the way of achieving the outcome they hoped for at the end of the divorce process.
To help you avoid stumbling as you if you are going through a divorce or if you are considering getting divorced, here are the six most-common, self-inflicted wounds that I’ve seen New Jersey men and fathers make.
1 – Using the children as pawns.
When their parents split up, kids go through a lot of their own emotional turmoil. Trying to get them to take your side in your battle with their mother will not help you and is unfair to the children. In fact, it is likely to make your spouse angry and dig in her heels. She may even try retaliating with the kids, putting your children in an untenable position being caught in the middle. Doing this will only up the cost of your divorce while extending the time it takes to reach a conclusion, making it more difficult for you to achieve your overall goal.
2 – Taking advice from family or friends.
Your siblings, parents or other family members, and close friends are well-meaning and want to provide support to you during a tough time. But if they have been through a divorce themselves, what they’re suggesting you do is based on their experience – not your situation. It is healthy for you to accept their emotional support. But when they offer legal advice or suggest a strategy, politely tell them, “I really appreciate what you’re trying to do for me, but I’ll let my attorney take care of the legal matters.”
3 – Neglecting your personal finances.
Once you begin thinking about getting a divorce, you need to begin setting aside money for all the expenses that will build up quickly from the cost of getting a new place to live and moving, to daily expenses and attorney fees. If you are trying to make up your mind and want to know what will be involved once you say to your wife “I want a divorce,” our divorce consulting service can provide guidance before you retain a lawyer. Once you start thinking about leaving your wife, make copies of your financial and legal records including bank and investment statements, tax returns, property deeds or apartment leases, wills, trusts, insurance policies and vehicle titles, and any business-related agreements. Store them where your wife will not find them.
4 – Saying things you’ll later regret.
I always tell clients to keep their divorce off of social media. It may be momentarily satisfying to send an angry text message, go on a Twitter rant or discuss your problems on Facebook, but it is a terrible idea. Text messages and anything you post on social media about your marriage and divorce may well end up being used against you by your wife and her lawyer. Judges do not like it when there is evidence of social media slurs. Plus, your children may see the items and it will only increase their distress at mom and dad splitting up.
5 – Losing sight of the big picture.
In the long run, it doesn’t matter who keeps the wine glasses. If you cannot use our unique e-divorce service because you and your wife can’t resolve all of the issues over support, custody and visitation, and dividing assets and debts, you will simply pile up a legal bill fighting over everything. Concentrate on what really matters to you. If a judge must decide any of the outstanding issues, you risk not ending up with what you want and need from the outcome of your divorce. The more you and your wife argue about the small stuff, the less likely you will be happy at the end of the process.
6 – Avoiding the grieving process.
Along with the death of a loved one and losing a job, divorce is the most-stressful thing that can happen to a man or father in New Jersey. No matter how unhappy the marriage, you are losing what you once thought would be your life partner. It is okay to be upset. Grieving is a healthy emotion and needed for you to be able to move on with your life. Our support group for divorced men and fathers can help you with this process and you don’t need to be a client to participate. Also, we can refer you to trained professionals if you prefer.
Helping New Jersey Men and Fathers Avoid Silly Mistakes
The team of family law attorneys at the Micklin Law Group have helped countless men and fathers in New Jersey avoid making these mistakes – or at least let them know when they are about to create an unnecessary problem or issue.
We are working remotely during the pandemic, and our lawyers are in touch with each other, client files and the court thanks to our electronic infrastructure. If you want to talk about your situation before you make any of these common mistakes, we can meet in our Virtual Law Office or talk if you will call us at either 973.562.0100 in Nutley or, in Montclair, at 862.245.4620.