6 Mistakes Men, Especially Dads, Make during Divorce

Divorce can be a tricky process for many men to navigate, particularly fathers. Men and dads get divorced, of course, but some divorces are more successful than others.

If you are a dad about to embark on the divorce process or are currently embroiled in a tumultuous divorce, below are six common mistakes that men, particularly fathers, make during divorce and how you can prevent them from happening.

Refusing to co-parent or not co-parenting well

Some men choose to fight with their exes over every single issue in and out of court. They think that by resisting their ex and making the divorce as difficult as possible, they're "getting back" at them. But in reality, they are the ones who end up getting hurt, along with the rest of the family – most notably the children, if there are any.

Related: I'm a Divorced Dad and This is My Best Advice for Co-Parenting

Continually arguing, plotting, and scheming is detrimental to everyone involved. On an individual level, it can disrupt your job, mental health, and interpersonal relationships, all of which can hurt you during the divorce process and in the years afterward. In every way imaginable, it's better to co-parent with your ex.

Not spending enough time with your children

During a separation, many men move out of the family home, sometimes too quickly. Or, they jump into a new relationship too soon. Or, they dive into work as a distraction. Whatever the case, the behavior may result in fathers not spending nearly as much time with their children as they did before the divorce.

Whether conscious or not, this type of behavior could potentially harm you during a divorce, particularly if you're seeking joint custody. Judges look for fathers who are active in raising their children when awarding custody.

On a more personal note, neglecting to spend time with your children may be harmful to the children. It can damage the health of their relationship with you today and in the future. Children, especially during a divorce, need their parents – each of them – to be supportive during and after the divorce.

Being an absentee father during a turbulent time like divorce may result in your kids resenting you now and later in life. It could potentially impact the relationships they form as adults with anyone, from friends to romantic prospects.

Failing to pay child support

Divorce can wreak havoc on men's finances. Between legal fees, time devoted to the divorce process (which can eat up time typically spent at work), and an inability to afford the lifestyle change resulting from transitioning from one household to two, men can be left in financial ruin after a divorce. As a result, they may be unable to make, or choose not to make, their child support payments.

Skipping child support payments looks terrible to a judge. It could be detrimental to your parenting arrangement with children. It could also affect you negatively during the property division phase of your divorce, as a judge may look more sympathetically at the single mother dealing with a deadbeat dad.

Perhaps worst of all, you could face arrest for failing to pay child support, which would impact all aspects of your life, including employment, for years to come.

Prolonging the divorce process

There are various reasons why men opt to drag out their divorce for as long as possible. These reasons include not wanting a divorce, trying to wreak financial and emotional havoc on their ex, and stubbornness.

If you're thinking about deliberately dragging your divorce out, think twice. In addition to the stress prolonging a divorce can place on your family, particularly your children, legal fees can add up fast, draining your bank account.

The behavior hurts you not just in the present moment ... it will continue to affect your life and the lives of your children for decades as you try to play catch-up. It's not worth it.

Not speaking with a mediator or attorney 

When some men discover their wives want a divorce, they may go into denial, particularly if they don't want a divorce. Often, these men refuse to talk to an attorney or seek help in other ways, such as working with a skilled mediator to resolve marital differences. They hold on to false hope that maybe their spouse will come back if they avoid the subject.

Additional reasons men don't work with a certified mediator or attorney include not wanting to expend energy on finding one or believing they lack the financial resources. Other men who have money to earmark for their divorce don't want to dip into their funds for it. And there are some who wish to prolong the divorce process out of sheer spite. 

Not being honest with your mediator or attorney

When working with a mediator or attorney, honesty is critical. Even the finest divorce professionals can't do their job well if they aren't fully aware of all the facts in the case. This includes facts about finances or hidden assets. 

When you partner with Hello Divorce, the service of multiple divorce professionals is at your fingertips. For example, you can book an hour of mediation via phone or Zoom by clicking here. We also offer easy access to certified divorce financial planning and one-on-one sessions with an attorney that are tailored to your particular concerns and needs.

Our goal at Hello Divorce is to make it easy for unhappy couples to separate without all the stress and expense of a "traditional" divorce. If you're intrigued and want to learn more about our online divorce plans and services, take advantage of a free 15-minute informational call to learn more. You can schedule your free call here.



Contributing Writer & Family Law Attorney
Charlotte Christian is an Alabama family law attorney. Her firm protect professionals from unfair divorce, working to keep the life they have worked so hard for.