Children always suffer emotional pain and conflict when their parents split up. As an attorney who devotes his career to helping men and fathers who are divorcing their spouse, I have seen this first hand. It happens especially in high conflict divorces or where the mother is a narcissist, and a wide range of studies by psychologists confirm what I’ve observed anecdotally.
Narcissistic mothers who purposefully create a high conflict divorce fail to see the damage they cause their children. But the evidence is clear: by escalating the tension that existed in the home that led to the divorce, they also increase the damage they are causing to their children.
There are strategies a father in New Jersey can use to minimize the harm their kids might suffer when they leave their mother.
Create and Stick to a Plan
My divorce advice for men in New Jersey always starts with recommending they create a plan by focusing on the outcome they want at the end of the process. This is particularly important when there is a high conflict divorce or when the wife shows signs of suffering some of the symptoms of a narcissistic personality disorder.
There are three major areas I advise men to focus on …
Men and Father’s Rights after Separation in New Jersey – Yes, father’s have rights and family court judges are listening to what a dad wants regarding custody, child support and visitation. Custody no longer goes to the mother automatically as a matter of course when a dad wants to co-parent or be the custodial parent.
When the mother and father find themselves in a high conflict divorce, the court focuses on what will be in the best interests of the children. Older offspring may be asked which parent they would prefer to live with. And while a father who travels extensively for work may not persuade a judge to make him the custodial parent of younger children, he can ask to be a co-parent which will allow him to share equally in decisions regarding the children’s education, health care and religious training.
Even if there is not a high conflict divorce, men have rights in complex custody cases in New Jersey.
Alimony Rights for Men in New Jersey – With a large number of women owning successful businesses or having high-powered, high-paying careers, it is not uncommon anymore for the wife to earn more than her husband. The purpose of spousal support is to ease the transition to their new life for the spouse that earns less than their partner.
As a result, I am seeing a small but rapidly growing number of men in New Jersey who are entitled to at least temporary alimony.
It is necessary for men who feel they may be entitled to support to document their income and that of their soon-to-be ex-wife. Along with copies of bank statements, tax returns and W-2 or 1099 forms, men and fathers getting a divorce in New Jersey need to make copies of all of their investment and retirement accounts – pensions or 401(k) plans – as well as any other assets they have. They will need to demonstrate to a court what portion they and their wives contributed.
This information is also invaluable if their spouse is asking for support.
Stay Strong and Stay Calm – In any high conflict divorce, and especially if the spouse is a narcissist, they will try to wear you down. I’ve seen it happen time and time again. Often, a client will think that by shrugging and agreeing to unreasonable demands, the problem will go away.
They will find some other issue to argue about. If a father in New Jersey agrees to a dollar amount for support that she’s not truly entitled to get, she’ll turn the battle to custody and visitation, the division of property and debt, or something else. Her goal is to win at all costs, not to be reasonable and reach an equitable and speedy end to the process.
This is one of the benefits of the Divorce and Custody Support Group for Men that I sponsor. It offers a non-judgmental, safe space to share your concerns and issues, and help you help your children from suffering emotionally during your divorce. This also is why we provide a divorce consulting service to help men and fathers in New Jersey prepare for their divorce.
You do not need to be a divorce client of our firm to participate in the support group or to use our divorce consulting service.
Plan for the Unexpected to Help Your Children Through a High-Conflict Divorce in New Jersey
If you are a man or father in New Jersey who is contemplating a divorce and have questions about aiding your children while you divorce a high-conflict spouse, please do call me or any of our experienced family law attorneys. Reach us at either 973.562.0100 in Nutley or, in Montclair, at 862.245.4620.