Divorce is always a hot topic with celebs. Amber Rose recently filed for divorce from rapper/husband Wiz Khalifa, and news that Kris and Bruce Jenner's divorce settlement came in at $60 million broke. The latter was described as amiable, one that didn't even involve lawyers but business managers. The truth is, most divorces are never that clean and simple (we're pretty sure theirs wasn't either, but they have enough money to keep the media quiet).
Divorces can get quite ugly, particularly when there isn't a prenup. It's easy to make mistakes at the very beginning of the divorce process, especially if you're dealing with someone who is highly manipulative, abusive or just plain irrational. Even if you are divorcing a reasonable person, it's tough to think clearly and make the right initial decisions. Most people are so angry, upset or anxious at the end of their marriage that they're not thinking logically about what they should do to protect themselves or their children from an unfair settlement.
In the past, the prevailing emotions during a divorce were usually sadness and regret. Today, anger is the dominant emotion: People are angry at their spouse, their spouse's parents, at their spouse's new partners, etc. All this anger translates into words and deeds that make the divorce process more costly, stressful, frustrating, lengthy, and an all-out war. It doesn't have to be that way, even if you are divorcing the most irrational of humans. Reading this list, however, might give you a head start on having the smoothest divorce possible. Below are the 10 most common mistakes men make in divorce.
10. Using your children as pawns (check out this video describing the possible effects of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver's divorce on their kids)
Threatening to limit or deny visitation is a powerful threat, and it can terrify a parent who loves his child(ren). Often, parents who are the primary caregivers, but who lack the financial resources, feel that they must use this threat to gain sufficient financial support.
As painful as these threats are, do not respond in kind. Don't issue threats of your own. Instead, recognize that in most cases, the truth will come out. If you've been a good, responsible parent, your spouse likely cannot deny you a chance to see your kids on a regular basis. More to the point, the court won't allow it in most instances.
9. Thinking romance first, divorce second (check out this video describing how Brad Pitt cheated on Jennifer Aniston with Angelina Jolie)
The most common factor that turns a normal divorce into an abnormally contentious one is bringing another woman into the mix. The situation is already potentially volatile, and all it takes is the mention that you have a new lover for your spouse to become infuriated.
There are several reasons you may want to announce your new relationship-revenge, one being to show her that someone finds you attractive and you've even found happiness. Try to keep a new relationship out of the conversations with your spouse and especially your children. The best decision is to wait until the divorce is concluded before you engage in a new relationship.
8. Allowing your spouse to convince you to not hire an attorney (check out this news report describing the messy divorce of Heather Mills and Paul McCartney)
If your spouse has hired a lawyer, you need to hire one quickly. If you don't, you are an amateur playing against professionals. One underhand tactic is for a spouse's attorney to offer to represent both parties to save time and money. Not only is it unethical, but it also creates a conflict of interest.
The process is designed to be adversarial, and there is no way a lawyer can fairly represent you both. The odds are that your spouse has something to hide or something she wants, and she knows that if you hire a lawyer it will be more difficult to achieve that goal.
7. Using verbal abuse (check out this video, where attorneys discuss verbal abuse in divorce)
Just about everyone who gets a divorce argues. Not everyone, however, engages in continuous verbal battles in which threats and vile accusations become routine forms of communication. Being on the receiving end of this abuse is demoralizing, especially when the threats raise the possibility of physical harm to you or your children.
You need to discuss any threats of this type with your attorney, who can advise you on how to deal with them. Furthermore, if it is you who's engaging in the verbal abuse, remember that your spouse can easily obtain an order of protection and any violation of this order can land you in jail. There is a myth that men do not endure verbal or even physical abuse from their spouses, but it is just a myth. Abuse is not gender specific.
6. Rubbing salt in the wound (watch this video, where an attorney explains why you should try to negotiate before you litigate)
If your goal is to avoid a court battle and the high costs that go with it, then you want to avoid any accusations of personality flaws. Be aware of your spouse's sensitivities and avoid inflaming them. Compromise is the essence of divorce negotiations, and if you say and do things to encourage your spouse to dig in and be inflexible, you're asking for a war.
No matter how much you despise your spouse; no matter how many ways you feel you've been wronged, don't make a bad situation worse by identifying your spouse's vulnerabilities when trying to reach a settlement. Always try to negotiate before you litigate.
Find this helpful? Don't miss 5 more mistakes men make when going through a divorce.