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Advice for newbies (long)

Started by mistoffolees, Sep 21, 2006, 09:50:34 AM

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mistoffolees

For any men just starting to go through the divorce process, I thought I'd add my free advice. Of course, it may be worth exactly what you're paying for it, but maybe it will help someone.

My situation is that I'm in the process of ending a 14 year marriage. Two college age SDs and one 8 year old for my wife and me jointly. NOTHING in the world is more important to me than my daughter and I am doing this partly for her (my wife is fairly abusive and getting worse).

1. If you're not sure whether you want a divorce or not, get the book "Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay" by Mira Kirshenbaum. She outlines her research from analyzing thousands of couples who split up or stayed together based on many criteria. Each chapter asks a question and then says 'if your answer is yes, most people in your situation were happy they left' (or whatever). GREAT book for clarifying what's on your mind.

2. If you're even THINKING of a divorce, don't do anything stupid. That might mean drinking too much, going out all night with the guys, chasing women,  ignoring your kids, whatever. Anything you do can AND WILL be used against you. There will be plenty of time for that later.

3. Keep a notebook of everything that happens with dates. This is not a vendetta book, but is rather a book showing your history. For example, my daughter is important to me, so a lot of my book says: "December 2, 2005. I took xxx to the zoo and spent the day. We then went out to dinner and I helped her get ready for bed and tucked her in. She thanked me for a nice time". There may be cases where you'll want to document bad things your spouse did, but that's not really the purpose. In my case, at least, it's more to show the positive things I've done than the negative things she's done.

4. Get a good lawyer. The difference in cost between a great lawyer and a lousy one isn't as much as you'd think and will pay off. Make sure your lawyer specializes in custody/divorce issues. Ask your divorced friends for recommendations.

5. Stay calm. It will feel like it takes 3 lifetimes, but will be over sooner than you think. Don't get frustrated.

6. If you're feeling depressed, don't stew in it. Get help. The professional help will get you through it. Again, get a good counselor. It will help you stay calm during all the endless hearings, negotiation, etc and that's worth its weight in gold.

7. This one's easy for me to say because my daughter is worth more to me than any amount of money, but do your best not to worry about the money. You want the distribution to be fair, of course, but please don't play games with trying to cheat your spouse. First, it's not fair to them. Second, it's not fair to you. You'll feel much better about yourself if you can hold your head high and say you were fair.

8. Don't let the rest of your life wither. You need a life.

There's much more than I could add, but that's the gist of it. Good luck (and please wish me luck, too).

tf11

Just wanted to say good luck and thanks for the advice. I am a newly separated father of a 2 year old boy that means more to me than anything.

I have been deployed to a combat zone, almost blown to bits by a car bomb, yet the only thing that really bothers me is the thought of my son having a more difficult time in life because of this divorce.  That hits home you know.
That keeps me up at night.

I feel we did the right thing by separating, as he doesnt need to grow up seeing a loveless marriage of 2 people that do not like each other.

I appreciate your advice. I wish I had followed some of it sooner, but we are not perfect and hindsight is always 20/20, right?





CA DAD needs help

Wow, thank you this is good advice now even 11 yrs later while Im still fighting. So much is not fair. I really like the notebook idea for the good as my ex is always trying to slam me as a father